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THE 

KIPLING READER 



SELECTIONS FROM THE BOOKS OF 
BUDYABD KIPLING 



NEW AND REVISED EDITION 



MACMILLAN AND CO^ Limited 

NBW YORK: THE MAOMILLAN OOMPANT 

1901 

AU rights reaerved 



CONTENTS, 

PROSE. 

PAQX 

Bikki-Tikki-Tavi, 1 

Wii/HAM THE Conqueror. Part I., .... 20 

William the Conqueror. Part II., . . . . 37 

Wee Willie Winbzb, 59 

A Matter of Fact, ....... 72 

MowQLi's Brothers, .,,.,., 88 

The Lost Legion, 110 

Namgat Doola, ' • 125 

A Germ-Destroyer, 138 

Tiger-Tiger, 144 

Tods' Amendment, 165 

The Story of Muhammad Din, 172 

The Finances of the Gods, . . . • .• .176 

MoTi GuJ — ^Mutineer, 1°1 



iv CONTENTS. 

POETRY. 

PAGE 

The Native Born, ... . ' 189 

The Flowers, 193 

Municipal, 196 

The Coastwise Lights, 19fi 

The English Flag, 200 

England's Answer, 204 

The Overland Mail, .206 

In Spring Time, . . . ' 208 



*RIKKI-TIKKI-TAVI/ 

At the hole where he went in 
Red-Eye called to Wrinkle-Skin. 
Hear what little Red-Eye saith : 
* Nag, come up and dance with death ! ' 

Eye to eye and head to head, 

{Keep the measure^ Nag.) 
This shall end when one is dead ; 

(At thy pleasure. Nag.) 
Turn for turn and twist for twist — 

{Run arid hide thee, Nag.) 
Hah ! The hooded Death has missed ! 

( Woe betide thee, Nag /) 

This is the story of the great war that Rikki-tikki- 
tavi fought single-handed, through the bath-rooms of 
the big bungalow in Segowlee cantonment. Darzee, the 
tailor-bird, helped him, and Chuchundra, the musk- 
rat, who never comes out into the middle of the floor, 
but always creeps round by the wall, gave him advice ; but 
Eikki-tikki did the real fighting. 

He was a mongoose, rather like a little cat in his fiir and his 
tail, but quite like a weasel in his head and habits. His eyes 
and the end of his restless nose were pink ; he could scratch 
himself anywhere he pleased, with any leg, front or back, 
that he chose to use ; he could flufl" up his tail till it looked 
like a bottle-brush, and his war-cry, as he scuttled through 
the long grass, was : ' Mikk-tikk-tikki'tikkirtchk / * 

K.R. A * 



2 THE KIPLING READER 

One day, a high summer flood washed him out of the 
burrow where he lived with his father and mother, and 
carried him, kicking and clucking, down a roadside ditch. 
He found a little wisp of grass floating there, and clung to 
it till he lost his senses. When he revived, he was lying in 
the hot sun on the middle of a garden path, very draggled 
indeed, and a small boy was saying : * Here's a dead mon- 
goose. Let's have a funeral.' 

* No,' said his mother ; * let's take him in and dry him. 
Perhaps he isn't really dead.' 

They took him into the house, and a big man picked him 
up between his finger and thumb, and said he was not dead 
but half choked ; so they wrapped him in cotton-wool, and 
warmed him and he opened his eyes and sneezed. 

' Now,' said the big man (he was an Englishman who had 
just moved into the bungalow); 'don't frighten him and 
we'll see what he'll do.' 

It is the hardest thing in the world to frighten a mon- 
goose, because he is eaten up from nose to tail with curiosity. 
The motto of all the mongoose family is ' Run and find out ' ; 
and Rikki-tikki was a true mongoose. He looked at the 
cotton-wool, decided that it was not good to eat, ran aU 
round the table, sat up and put his fur in order, scratched 
himself and jumped on the small boy's shoulder. 

* Don't be frightened, Teddy,' said his father. * That's 
his way of making friends.' 

' Ouch ! He's tickling under my chin,' said Teddy. 

Rikki-tikki looked down between the boy's collar and 
neck, snuffled at his ear, and cKmbed down to the floor, 
where he sat rubbing his nose. 

' Good gracious,' said Teddy's mother, * and that's a wild 
creature ! I suppose he's so tame because we've been kind 
to him.' 

'All mongooses are like that,' said her husband. *It 
Teddy doesn't pick him up by the tail, or try to put him in 



RIKKI-TIKKI-TAVI 3 

a cage, he'll run in and out of the house all day long. 
Let's give him something to eat/ 

They gave him a little piece of raw meat. Rikki-tikki 
b'ked it immensely, and when it was finished he went out 
into the verandah and sat in the sunshine and fluffed up 
his fur to make it dry to the roots. Then he felt better. 

* There are more things to find out about in this house,' 
he said to himself, * than all my family could find out in 
all their lives. I shall certainly stay and find out.' 

He spent all that day roaming over the house. He 
nearly drowned himself in the bath-tubs, put his nose into 
the ink on a writing-table, and burnt it on the end of the 
big man's cigar, for he climbed up in the big man's lap to 
see how writing was done. At nightfall he ran into Teddy's 
nursery to watch how the kerosene-lamps were lighted, and 
when Teddy went to bed Rikki-tikki climbed up too ; but 
he was a restless companion, because he had to get up and 
attend to every noise all through the night, and find out 
what made it. Teddy's mother and fether came in, the 
last thing, to look at their boy, and Eikki-tikki was awake 
on the pillow. *I don't like that,' said Teddy's mother; 
* he may bite the child' * He'll do no such thing,' said the 
father. * Teddy's safer with that little beast than if he had 
a bloodhound to watch him. If a snake came into the 
nursery now- 



But Teddy's mother wouldn't think of anything so awful. 

Early in the morning RikM-tikki came to early breakfewt 
in the verandah riding on Teddy's shoulder, and they gave 
him banana and some boiled egg ; and he sat on all their 
laps one after the other, because every well-brought-up 
mongoose always hopes to be a house-mongoose some day 
and have rooms to run about in, and RikM-tikki's mother 
(she used to live in the Greneral's house at Segowlee) had 
carefully told Rikki what to do if ever he came across 
white men. 



4 THE KIPLING READER 

Then Rikki-tikld went out into the garden to see what 
was to be seen. It was a large garden, only half culti- 
vated, with bushes as big as summer-houses of Marshal 
Niel roses, lime and orange trees, clumps of bamboos, and 
thickets of high grass. RikM-tikki licked his lips. ' This 
is a splendid hunting-ground,' he said, and his tail grew 
bottle-brushy at the thought of it, and he scuttled up and 
down the garden, snuffing here and there till he heard very 
sorrowful voices in a thom-bush. 

It was Darzee, the tailor-birdy and his wife. They had 
made a beautiful nest by pulling two big leaves together 
and stitching them up the edges with fibres, and had filled 
the hollow with cotton and downy flufi". The nest swayed 
to and fro, as they sat on the rim and cried. 

* What is the matter ? ' asked Rikld-tikM. 

*We are very miserable,' said Darzee. *One of our 
babies fell out of the nest yesterday, and Nag ate him.' 

* H'm ! ' said Rikki-tikki, * that is very sad — but I am a 
stranger here. Who is Nag 1 ' 

Darzee and his wife only cowered down in the nest 
without answering, for from the thick grass at the foot of 
the bush there came a low hiss — a horrid cold sound that 
made RikM-tikki jump back two clear feet. Then inch by 
inch out of the grass rose up the head and spread hood of 
Nag, the big black cobra, and he was five feet long from 
tongue to tail. When he had lifted one-third of himself 
clear of the ground, he stayed balancing to and fro exactly 
as a dandelion-tuft balances in the wind, and he looked at 
Rikki-tikki with the wicked snake's eyes that never change 
their expression, whatever the snake may be thinking of. 

* Who is Nag ? ' said he. ' / am Nag. The great god 
Brahm put his mark upon all our people when the first cobra 
spread his hood to keep the sun off" Brahm as he slept. 
Look, and be afraid ! ' 

He spread out his hood more than ever, and Rikki-tikki 



RIKKI-TIKKI-TAVI 5 

saw the spectacle-mark on the back of it that looks exactly 
like the eye part of a hook-and-eye fastening. He was 
afiraid for the minute ; but it is impossible for a mongoose 
to stay frightened for any length of time, and though 
Rikki-tikld had never met a live cobra before, his mother 
had fed him on dead ones, and he knew that all a grown 
mongoose's business in life was to fight and eat snakes. 
Nag knew that too, and at the bottom of his cold heart he 
was a&aid. 

'Well,' said Rikki-tikki, and his tail began to fluff up 
again, ' marks or no marks, do you think it is right for you 
to eat fledglings out of a nest ? ' 

Nag was thinking to himself, and watching the least 
little movement in the grass behind Rikki-tikld. He knew 
that mongooses in the garden meant death sooner or later 
for him and his family, but he wanted to get Rikki-tikki off 
his guard. So he dropped his head a little, and put it on 
one side. 

* Let us talk,' he said. 'You eat eggs. Why should not 
I eat birds ? ' 

• Behind you ! Look behind you ! ' sang Darzee. 
Rikki-tikM knew better than to waste time in staring. 

He jumped up in the air as high as he could go, and just 
under him whizzed by the head of Nagaina, Nag's wicked 
wife. She had crept up behind him as he was talking, to 
make an end of him ; and he heard her savage hiss as the 
stroke missed. He came down almost across her back, and 
if he had been an old mongoose he would have known that 
then was the time to break her back with one bite ; but he 
was afraid of the terrible lashing return-stroke of the cobra. 
He bit, indeed, but did not bite long enough, and he 
jumped clear of the whisking tail, leaving Nagaina torn and 
angry. 

' Wicked, wicked Darzee ! ' said Nag, lashing up as high 
as he could reach toward the nest in the thorn-bush ; but 



6 THE KIPLING READER 

Darzee had built it out of reach of snakes, and it only 
swayed to and fro. 

Rikki-tikki felt his eyes growing red and hot (when a 
mongoose's eyes grow red, he is angry), and he sat back on 
his tail and hind legs like a little kangaroo, and looked all 
round him, and chattered with rage. But Nag and Nagaina 
had disappeared into the grass. When a snake misses its 
stroke, it never says anything or gives any sign of what it 
means to do next. Rikki-tikki did not care to follow them, 
for he did not feel sure that he could manage two snakes at 
once. So he trotted off to the gravel path near the house, 
and sat down to think. It was a serious matter for him. 

K you read the old books of natural history, you will find 
they say that when the mongoose fights the snake and 
happens to get bitten, he runs off and eats some herb that 
cures him. That is not true. The victory is only a matter 
of quickness of eye and quickness of foot, — snake's blow 
against mongoose's jump, — and as no eye can follow the 
motion of a snake's head when it strikes, that makes things 
much more wonderful than any magic herb. Rikki-tikki 
knew he was a young mongoose, and it made him all the 
more pleased to think that he had managed to escape a 
blow from behind. It gave him confidence in himself, and 
when Teddy came running down the path, Rikld-tikld was 
ready to be petted. 

But just as Teddy was stooping, something flinched a 
little in the dust, and a tiny voice said : * Be careful. I am 
death ! ' It was Karait, the dusty brown snakeling that 
lies for choice on the dusty earth; and his bite is as 
dangerous as the cobra's. But he is so small that nobody 
thinks of him, and so he does the more harm to people. 

Rikld-tikki's eyes grew red again, and he danced up to 
Karait with the peculiar rocking, swaying motion that he 
had inherited from his family. It looks very funny, but it 
is so perfectly balanced a gait that you can fly off from it 



RIKKI-TIKKI-TAVI 7 

at any angle you please ; and in dealing with snakes this is 
an advantage. If RikM-tikki had only known, he was 
doing a much more dangerous thing than fighting Nag, for 
Karait is so small, and can turn so quickly, that unless 
Bikki bit him close to the back of the head, he would get 
the return-stroke in his eye or lip. But RikM did not 
know : his eyes were all red, and he rocked back and forth, 
looking for a good place to hold. Karait struck out. Rikki 
jumped sideways and tried to run in, but the wicked little 
dusty gray head lashed within a fraction of his shoulder, 
and he had to jump over the body, and the head followed 
his heels close. 

Teddy shouted to the house : * Oh, look here ! Our 
mongoose is killing a snake'; and RikM-tikki heard a 
scream from Teddy's mother. His father ran out with a 
stick, but by the time he came up, Karait had lunged out 
once too far, and RikkitikM had sprung, jumped on the 
snake's back, dropped his head far between his fore-legs, 
bitten as high up the back as he could get hold, and rolled 
away. That bite paralysed Karait, and Eikki-tikld was 
just going to eat him up from the tail, after the custom of 
his family at dinner, when he remembered that a full meal 
makes a slow mongoose, and if he wanted all his strength 
and quickness ready, he must keep himself thin. 

He went away for a dust-bath under the castor-oil bushes, 
while Teddy's fether beat the dead Karait. ' What is the 
use of that ? ' thought RikM-tikki. ' I have settled it all ' ; 
and then Teddy's mother picked him up from the dust and 
hugged him, crying that he had saved Teddy from death, 
and Teddy's father said that he was a providence, and 
Teddy looked on with big scared eyes. RikM-tikM was 
rather amused at all the fiiss, which, of course, he did not 
understand. Teddy's mother might just as well have 
petted Teddy for playing in the dust. RikM was thoroughly 
enjoying himself. 



8 THE KIPLING READER 

That night, at dinner, walking to and fro among the 
wine-glasses on the table, he could have stuffed himself 
three times over with nice things ; but he remembered Nag 
and Nagaina, and though it was very pleasant to be patted 
and petted by Teddy's mother, and to sit on Teddy's 
shoulder, his eyes would get red from time to time, and he 
would go off into his long war-cry of ' Btkk-tikkrtikki-tikkir 
tchkf 

Teddy carried him off to bed, and insisted on Rikki-tikki 
sleeping under his chin. Rikki-tikki was too well bred to 
bite or scratch, but as soon as Teddy was asleep he went off 
for his nightly walk round the house, and in the dark he 
ran up against Chuchundra, the musk-rat, creeping round 
by the wall. Chuchundra is a broken-hearted little beast. 
He whimpers and cheeps all the night, trying to make up 
his mind to run into the middle of the room, but he never 
gets there. 

'Don't kill me,' said Chuchundra, almost weeping. 
♦Rikki-tikki, don't kill me.' 

*Do you think a snake-kiUer kills musk-rats T said 
Rikki-tikki scornfully. 

* Those who kill snakes get killed by snakes,' said Chu- 
chundra, more sorrowfully than ever. * And how am I to be 
sure that Nag won't mistake me for you some dark night ?' 

'There's not the least danger,' said Rikki-tikki ; 'but 
Nag is in the garden, and I know you don't go there.' 

' My cousin Chua, the rat, told me ' said Chuchundra, 

and then he stopped. 

'Told you what?' 

' H'sh ! Nag is everywhere, RikM-tikki. You should 
have talked to Chua in the garden.' 

' I didn't — so you must tell me. Quick, Chuchundra, or 
I'll bite you ! ' 

Chuchundra sat down and cried till the tears rolled off 
his whiskers. 'I am a very poor man,' he sobbed. *I 



RIKKI-TIKKI-TAVI d 

never had spirit enough to run out into the middle of the 
room. H'sh ! I mustn't tell you anything. Can't you 
hear, Rikki-tikki ? ' 

Rikki-tikM listened. The house was as still as still, hut 
he thought he could just catch the faintest scratch-scratch in 
the world, — a noise as faint as that of a wasp walking on a 
window-pane, — the dry scratch of a snake's scales on brick- 
work. 

'That's Nag or Nagaina,' he said to himself; 'and he's 
crawling into the bath-room sluice. You're right, Chu- 
chundra j I should have talked to Chua.' 

He stole off to Teddy's bath-room, but there was nothing 
there, and then to Tedd3r's mother's bath-room. At the 
bottom of the smooth plaster wall there was a brick pulled 
out to make a sluice for the bath-water, and as Eikki-tikki 
stole in by the masonry curb where the path is put, he 
heard Nag and Nagaina whispering together outside in the 
moonlight. 

* When the house is emptied of people,' said Nagaina to 
her husband, ' he will have to go away, and then the garden 
will be our own again. Go in quietly, and remember that 
the big man who killed Karait is the first one to bite. 
Then come out and tell me, and we will hunt for Rikki- 
tikki together.' 

' But are you sure that there is anything to be gained 
by killing the people 1 ' said Nag. 

'Everything. When there were no people in the 
bungalow, did we have any mongoose in the garden ? So 
long as the bungalow is empty, we are king and queen of 
the garden ; and remember that as soon as our eggs in the 
melon-bed hatch (as they may to-morrow), our children will 
need room and quiet.' 

I had not thought of that,' said Nag. ' I will go, but 
there is no need that we should hunt for Rikki-tikki after- 
ward. I will kill the big man and his wife, and the child if 



10 THE KIPLING READER 

I can, and come away qtdetly. Then the bungalow will be 
empty, and Rikki-tikki will go.' 

Rikki-tikki tingled all over with rage and hatred at this, 
and then Nag's head came through the sluice, and his five 
feet of cold body followed it. Angry as he was, Rikld- 
tikki was very frightened as he saw the size of the big 
cobra. Nag coiled himself up, raised his head, and looked 
into the bath-room in the dark, and Rikki could see his 
eyes glitter. 

* Now, if I kiU him here, Nagaina will know ; and if I 
fight him on the open floor, the odds are in his favour. 
What am I to do ? ' said Rikki-tikki-tavi. 

Nag waved to and fro, and then Rikki-tikki heard him 
drinking from the biggest water- jar that was used to fill the 
bath. * That is good,' said the snake. * Now, when Karait 
was killed, the big man had a stick. He may have that 
stick still, but when he comes in to bathe in the morning 
he will not have a stick. I shall wait here till he comes. 
Nagaina— do you hear me ? — I shall wait here in the cool 
till daytime.' 

There was no answer from outside, so Rikki-tikki knew 
Nagaina had gone away. Nag coiled himself down, coil by 
coil, round the bulge at the bottom of the water-jar, and 
Rikki-tikki stayed still as death. After an hour he began 
to move, muscle by muscle, toward the jar. Nag was asleep, 
and Rikld-tikki looked at his big back, wondering which 
would be the best place for a good hold. * If I don't break 
his back at the first jump,' said Rikki, * he can still fight ; 
and if he fights — O Rikki ! ' He looked at the thickness of 
the neck below the hood, but that was too much for him ; 
and a bite near the tail would only make Nag savage. 

' It must be the head,' he said at last ; * the head above 
the hood ; and when I am once there, I must not let go.' 

Then he jumped. The head was lying a little clear of the 
water-jar, under the curve of it; and, as his teeth met, 



RIKKI-TIKKI-TAVI U 

Rikki braced his back against the bulge of the red earthen- 
ware to hold down the head. This gave him just one 
second's purchase, and he made the most of it. Then he 
was battered to and fro as a rat is shaken by a dog — to and 
fro on the floor, up and down, and round in great circles ; 
but his eyes were red, and he held on as the body cart- 
whipped over the floor, upsetting the tin dipper and the 
soap-dish and the flesh-brush, and banged against the tin 
side of the bath. As he held he closed his jaws 
tighter and tighter, for he made sure he would be 
banged to death, and, for the honour of his family, 
he preferred to be found with his teeth locked. He was 
dizzy, aching, and felt shaken to pieces when something 
went oflF like a thunderclap just behind him ; a hot wind 
knocked him senseless, and red fire singed his fur. The 
big man had been wakened by the noise, and had fired 
both barrels of a shot-gun into Nag just behind the 
hood. 

RikM-tikki held on with his eyes shut, for now he was 
quite sure he was dead ; but the head did not move, and 
the big man picked him up and said: *It's the mongoose 
again, Alice; the little chap has saved our lives now.' 
lien Teddy's mother came in with a very white face, and 
saw what was left of Nag, and Eikki-tikki dragged himself 
to Teddy's bedroom and spent half the rest of the night 
shaking himself tenderly to find out whether he really 
was broken into forty pieces, as he fe-ncied. 

When morning came he was very stiflF, but well pleased 
with his doings. ' Now I have Nagaina to settle with, and 
she will be worse than five Nags, and there's no knowing 
when the eggs she spoke of will hatch. Goodness! I 
must go and see Darzee,' he said. 

Without waiting for breakfest, RikM-tikki ran to the 
thorn-bush where Darzee was singing a song of triumph at 
the top of his voice. The news of Nag's death was all 



12 THE KIPLING READER 

over the garden, for the sweeper had thrown the body on 
the rubbish-heap. 

♦Oh, you stupid tuft of feathers!' said Rikki-tikki 
angrily. * Is this the time to sing ? ' 

'Nag is dead — is dead — is dead!' sang Darzee. 'The 
valiant Rikki-tikki caught him by the head and held fast. 
The big man brought the bang-stick, and Nag fell in two 
pieces ! He will never eat my babies again.' 

*A11 that's true enough; but where's Nagaina?' said 
Rikki-tikki, looking carefully round him. 

♦Nagaina came to the bath-room sluice and called for 
Nag,' Darzee went on ; ' and Nag came out on the end of a 
stick — the sweeper picked him up on the end of a stick and 
threw him upon the rubbish-heap. Let us sing about the 
great, the red-eyed Rikki-tikki!' and Darzee filled his 
throat and sang. 

' If I could get up to your nest, I'd roll all your babies 
out ! ' said Rikki-tikki. * You don't know when to do the 
right thing at the right time. You're safe enough in your 
nest there, but it's war for me down here. Stop singing a 
minute, Darzee.' 

* For the great, the beautiful Rikki tikki's sake I wiU 
stop,' said Darzee. 'What is it, killer of the terrible 
Nag?' 

' Where is Nagaina, for the third time ? ' 

' On the rubbish-heap by the stables, mourning for Nag. 
Great is Rikki-tikki with the white teeth.' 

' Bother my white teeth ! Have you ever heard where 
she keeps her eggs 1 ' 

' In the melon-bed, on the end nearest the wall, where 
the sun strikes nearly all day. She hid them three weeks 
ago.' 

'And you never thought it worth while to tell met 
The end nearest the wall, you said 1 ' 

'Rikki-tikki, you are not going to eat her eggs V 



RIKKI-TIKKI-TAVI 13 

* Not eat exactly ; no. Darzee, if you have a grain of 
sense you will fly off to the stables and pretend that your 
wing is broken, and let Nagaina chase you away to this 
bush ! I must get to the melon-bed, and if I went there 
now she'd see me.' 

Darzee was a feather-brained little fellow who could 
never hold more than one idea at a time in his head ; and 
just because he knew that Nagaina's children were born in 
eggs like his own, he didn't think at first that it was fair to 
kill them. But his wife was a sensible bird, and she knew 
that cobra's eggs meant young cobras later on ; so she flew 
off from the nest, and left Darzee to keep the babies warm, 
and continue his song about the death of Nag. Darzee was 
very like a man in some ways. 

She fluttered in front of Nagaina by the rubbish-heap, 
and cried out, * Oh, my wing is broken ! The boy in the 
house threw a stone at me and broke it.' Then she 
fluttered more desperately than ever. 

Nagaina lifted up her head and hissed, 'You warned 
Rikki-tikki when I would have killed him. Indeed and 
truly, you've chosen a bad place to be lame in.' And she 
moved toward Darzee's wife, slipping along over the dust. 

* The boy broke it with a stone ! ' shrieked Darzee's wife. 

* Well ! It may be some consolation to you when you're 
dead to know that I shall settle accounts with the boy. 
My husband lies on the rubbish-heap this morning, but 
before night the boy in the house will lie very still. What 
is the use of running away? I am sure to catch you. 
Little fool, look at me ! ' 

Darzee's wife knew better than to do thM, for a bird who 
looks at a snake's eyes gets so frightened that she cannot 
move. Darzee's wife fluttered on, piping sorrowfully, and 
never leaving the ground, and Nagaina quickened her pace. 

Rikki-tikki heard them going up the path from the 
stables, and he raced for the end of the melon-patch near 



14 THE KIPLING READER 

the wall. There, in the warm litter about the melons, very 
cunningly hidden, he found twenty-five eggs, about the size 
of a bantam's eggs, but with whitish skin instead of shell. 

* I was not a day too soon,' he said ; for he could see the 
baby cobras curled up inside the skin, and he knew that 
the minute they were hatched they could each kill a man 
or a mongoosa He bit off the tops of the eggs as fast as 
he could, taking care to crush the young cobras, and turned 
over the litter from time to time to see whether he had 
missed any. At last there were only three eggs left, and 
Rikki-tikki began to chuckle to himself, when he heard 
Darzee's wife screaming : 

* Rikki-tikki, I led Nagaina toward the house, and she 
has gone into the verandah, and — oh, come quickly — she 
means killing ! ' 

Rikki-tikki smashed two eggs, and tumbled backward 
down the melon-bed with the third egg in his mouth, and 
scuttled to the verandah as hard as he could put foot to 
the ground. Teddy and his mother and father were there 
at early breakfast ; but Rikki-tikki saw that they were not 
eating anything. They sat stone-still, and their faces were 
white. Nagaina was coiled up on the matting by Teddy's 
chair, within easy striking-distance of Teddy's bare leg, and 
she was swaying to and fro singing a song of triumph. 

'Son of the big man that killed Nag,' she hissed, 'stay 
still. I am not ready yet. Wait a little. Keep very still, 
all you three. If you move I strike, and if you do not 
move I strike. Oh, foolish people, who killed my Nag ! ' 

Teddy's eyes were fixed on his father, and all his father 
could do was to whisper, 'Sit still, Teddy. You mustn't 
move. Teddy, keep stilL' 

Then Rikki-tikki came up and cried : ' Turn round, 
Nagaina ; turn and fight ! ' 

'All in good time,' said she, without moving her eyes. 
* I will settle my account with you presently. Look at your 



RIKKI-TIKKI-TAVI 15 

friends, Eikki-tikki. They are still and white; they are 
afraid. They dare not move, and if you come a step nearer 
I strike.' 

* Look at your eggs,' said Eikki-tikki, ' in the melon-bed 
near the wall Go and look, Nagaina.' 

The big snake turned half round, and saw the egg on the 
verandah. * Ah-h ! Give it to me,' she said. 

Rikki-tikki put his paws one on each side of the egg, and 
his eyes were blood-red. 'What price for a snake's egg'i 
For a young cobra? For a young king-cobra? For the 
last — the very last of the brood ? The ants are eating all 
the others down by the melon-bed.' 

Nagaina spun clear round, forgetting everjrthing for the 
sake of the one egg; and Eikki-tikki saw Teddy's father 
shoot out a big hand, catch Teddy by the shoulder, and 
drag him across the little table with the tea-cups, safe and 
out of reach of Nagaina. 

* Tricked! Tricked! Tricked! RUch-tcUck/' chuckled 
Eikki-tikki. 'The boy is safe, and it was I — I — I that 
caught Nag by the hood last night in the bath-room.' 
Then he began to jump up and down, all four feet together, 
his head close to the floor. * He threw me to and fro, but 
he could not shake me ofl: He was dead before the big 
man blew hiTn in two. I did it. Rikkirtikki-tch-tck / Come 
then, Nagaina. Come and fight with me. You shall not 
be a widow long.' 

Nagaina saw that she had lost her chance of killing 
Teddy, and the egg lay between EikM-tikki's paws. * Give 
me the egg, Eikki-tikld. Give me the last of my eggs, and 
I will go away and never come back,' she said, lowering her 
hood. 

* Yes, you will go away, and you will never come back ; 
for you will go to the rubbish-heap with Nag. Fight, 
widow ! The big man has gone for his gun ! Fight ! ' 

Eikki-tikki was bounding all round Nagaina, keeping just 



16 THE KIPLING READER 

out of reach of her stroke, his little eyes like hot coals. 
Nagaina gathered herself together, and flung out at him. 
Rikki-tikki jumped up and backward. Again and again 
and again she struck, and each time her head came with a 
whack on the matting of the verandah, and she gathered 
herself together like a watch-spring. Then Rikki-tikki 
danced in a circle to get behind her, and Nagaina spun 
round to keep her head to his head, so that the rustle of 
her tail on the matting sounded like dry leaves blown 
along by the wind. 

He had forgotten the egg. It still lay on the verandah, 
and Nagaina came nearer and nearer to it, till at last, while 
Rikki-tikki was drawing breath, she caught it in her mouth, 
turned to the verandah steps and flew Hke an arrow down 
the path, with Rikki-tikki behind her. When the cobra 
runs for her life, she goes like a whip-lash flicked across a 
horse's neck. 

RikM-tikki knew that he must catch her, or all the 
trouble would begin again. She headed straight for the 
long grass by the thorn-bush, and as he was running RikM- 
tikki heard Darzee still singing his foolish little song of 
triumph. But Darzee's wife was wiser. She flew ofi" her 
nest as Nagaina came along and flapped her wings about 
Nagaina's head. K Darzee had helped they might have 
turned her ; but Nagaina only lowered her hood and went 
on. Still, the instant's delay brought Rikki-tikki up to her, 
and as she plunged into the rat-hole where she and Nag 
used to live, his little white teeth were clenched on her 
tail, and he went down with her — and very few mongooses, 
however wise and old they may be, care to follow a cobra 
into its hole. It was dark in the hole; and Rikki-tikki 
never knew when it might open out and give Nagaina room to 
turn and strike at him. He held on savagely, and struck 
out his feet to act as brakes on the dark slope of the hot, 
moist earth. 



RIKKI-TIKKI-TAVI 17 

Then the grass by the mouth of the hole stopped waving, 
and Darzee said: 'It is all over with RikM-tikki ! We 
must sing his death-song. Valiant Rikki-tikki is dead ! 
For Nagaina will surely kill him underground.' 

So he sang a very mournful song that he made up on 
the spur of the minute, and just as he got to the most 
touching part the grass quivered again, and Rikld-tikki, 
covered with dirt, dragged himself out of the hole leg by 
leg, licking his whiskers. Darzee stopped with a little 
shout Rikld-tikki shook some of the dust out of his far 
and sneezed. * It is all over,' he said. ' The widow will 
never come out again.' And the red ants that live between 
the grass stems heard him, and began to troop down one 
after another to see if he had spoken the truth. 

Rikki-tikki curled himself up in the grass and slept 
where he was — slept and slept till it was late in the after- 
noon, for he had done a hard day's work. 

* Now,' he said, when he awoke, * I will go back to the 
house. Tell the Coppersmith, Darzee, and he wiQ tell the 
garden that Nagaina is dead.' 

The Coppersmith is a bird who makes a noise exactly 
like the beating of a little hammer on a copper pot ; and 
the reason he is always making it is because he is the town- 
crier to every Indian garden, and tells all the news to 
everybody who cares to listen. As Rikki-tikki went up 
the path, he heard his ' attention ' notes like a tiny dinner- 
gong ; and then the steady ' Ding-dong-toch/ Nag is dead — 
dong I Nagaina is dead ! Ding-dmig-tock ! ' That set all the 
birds in the garden singing, and the frogs croaking; for 
Nag and Nagaina used to eat frogs as well as little birds. 

When Rikki got to the house, Teddy and Teddy's 
mother (she looked very white still, for she had been faint- 
ing) and Teddy's father came out and almost cried over him ; 
and that night he ate all that was given him till he could 
eat no more, and went to bed on Teddy's shoulder, where 

K.R, B 



18 THE KIPLING READER 

Teddy's mother saw him when she came to look late at 
night. 

' He saved our lives and Teddy's life,' she said to her 
husband. * Just think, he saved aU our lives.' 

RikM-tikM woke up with a jump, for all the mongooses 
are light sleepers. 

' Oh, it's you,' said he. * What are you bothering for ? 
All the cobras are dead ; and if they weren't, I'm here.' 

Rikki-tikM had a right to be proud of himself; but he 
did not grow too proud, and he kept that garden as a mon- 
goose should keep it, with tooth and jump and spring and 
bite, till never a cobra dared show its head inside the walls. 



RIKKI-TIKKI-TAVI 19 

DAEZEE'S CHAUNT. 
(Sung in honour of Rikki-tikki-tavi.) 

Singer and tailor am I — 

Doubled the joys that I know — 
Proud of my lilt through the sky, 
Proud of the house that I sew — 
Over and under, so weave I my music — so weave I the 
house that I sew. 

Sing to your fledglings again. 

Mother, oh lift up your head ! 
Evil that plagued us is slain, 
Death in the garden lies dead. 
Terror that hid in the roses is impotent — flung on the 
dung-hill and dead ! 

Who ha£h delivered us, who ? 

Tell me his nest and his name. 
Rikki, the valiant, the true, 
Tikki, with eyeballs of flame, 
Rik tikki-tikki, the ivory-fanged, the hunter with eyeballs 
of flame. 

Give him the Thanks of the Birds, 

Bowing with tail-feathers spread ! 
Praise him with nightingale words — 
Nay, I will praise him instead. 
Hear ! I will sing you the praise of the bottle-tailed Rikki, 
with eyeballs of red ! 

{Here JRUcki-tikU inteirupted, and the rest of tlie song is lost.) 



WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR 
PART I 

I have done one braver thing 

Than all the worthies did ; 
And yet a braver thence doth spring, 

Which is to keep that hid. 

The Undertaking. 

*Is it officially declared yetT 

' They've gone as far as to admit extreme local scarcity, 
and they've started relief-works in one or two districts, the 
paper says.' 

' That means it will be declared as soon as they can make 
sure of the men and the rolling-stock. Shouldn't wonder 
if it were as bad as the Big Famine.' 

' Can't be,' said Scott, turning a little in the long cane 
chair. 'We've had fifteen-anna crops in the north, and 
Bombay and Bengal report more than they know what to 
do with. They'll be able to check it before it gets out of 
hand. It will only be local.' 

Martyn picked up the Pioneer from the table, read 
through the telegrams once more, and put up his feet on 
the chair-rests. It was a hot, dark, breathless evening, 
heavy with the smell of the newly-watered Mall. The 
flowers in the Club gardens were dead and black on their 

20 



WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR 21 

stalks, the little lotus-pond was a circle of caked mud, and 
the tamarisk-trees were white with the dust of days. Most of 
the men were at the bandstand in the public gardens — from 
the Club verandah you could hear the native Police band 
hammering stale waltzes — or on the polo-ground or in the 
high-walled fives-court, hotter than a Dutch oven. Half a 
dozen grooms, squatted at the heads of their ponies, waited 
their masters' return. From time to time a man would 
ride at a foot-pace into the Club compound, and listlessly 
loaf over to the whitewashed barracks beside the main 
building. These were supposed to be chambers. Men 
lived in them, meeting the same faces night after night at 
dinner, and drawing out their ofl&ce-work till the latest 
possible hour, that they might escape that doleftd company. 
' What are you going to do ? ' said Martyn, with a yawn. 
< Let's have a swim before dinner.' 

* Water's hot,' said Scott. * I was at the bath to-day.' 
*Play you game o' billiards — fifty up.* 

* It's a hundred and five in the haU now. Sit still and 
don't be so abominably energetic/ 

A grunting camel swung up to the porch, his badged and 
belted rider fumbling a leather pouch. 

* Kubber-Jcargaz — ki — yektraaa,' the man whined, handing 
down the newspaper extra — a slip printed on one side only, 
and damp from the press. It was pinned on the green 
baize-board, between notices of ponies for sale and fox- 
terriers missing. 

Martyn rose lazily, read it, and whistled. ' It's declared ! ' 
he cried. * One, two, three — eight districts go under the 
operation of the Famine Code ek dim. They've put Jimmy 
Hawkins in charge.' 

* Good business 1 ' said Scott, with the first sign of interest 
he had shown. * When in doubt hire a Punjabi. I worked 
under Jimmy when I first came out and he belonged to 
the Punjab. He has more hmddbmt than most men.' 



22 THE KIPLING READER 

* Jimmy's a Jubilee Knight now,' said MartyiL ' He was 
a good chap, even though he is a thrice-born civilian and 
went to the Benighted Presidency. What unholy names 
these Madras districts rejoice in — all ungas or rungas or 
pillays OT polliums.' 

A dog-cart drove up, and a man entered, mopping his 
head. He was editor of the one daily paper at the capital 
of a province of twenty-five million natives and a few 
hundred white men, and as his staff was limited to himself 
and one assistant, his office hours ran variously from ten to 
twenty a day. 

* Hi, Raines ; you're supposed to know everything,' said 
Martyn, stopping him. 'How's this Madras "scarcity" 
going to turn out 1 ' 

' No one knows as yet. There's a message as long as 
your arm coming in on the telephone. I've left my cub to 
fill it out. Madras has owned she can't manage it alone, 
and Jimmy seems to have a free hand in getting all the men 
he needs. Arbuthnot's warned to hold himself in readiness.' 

* " Badger " Arbuthnot 1 ' 

*The Peshawur chap. Yes, and the Pi wires that Ellis 
and Clay have been moved from the North- West already, 
and they've taken half a dozen Bombay men, too. It's 
pukka famine, by the looks of it.' 

* They're nearer the scene of action than we are ; but if 
it comes to indenting on the Punjab this early, there's more 
in this than meets the eye,' said Martyn. 

* Here to-day and gone to-morrow. Didn't come to stay 
for ever,' said Scott, dropping one of Marryat's novels, and 
rising to his feet. * Martyn, your sister's waiting for you.* 

A rough gray horse was backing and shifting at the edge 
of the verandah, where the light of a kerosene-lamp fell 
on a brown calico habit and a white face under a gray felt 
hat. 

* Right, O,' said Martyn. ' I'm ready. Better come and 



WILLIAM THE CONQUEEOR 23 

dine with us if you've nothing to do, Scott. William, is 
there any dinner in the house 1 ' 

* I'U go home first and see,' was the rider's answer. * You 
can drive him over — at eight, remember.' 

Scott moved leisurely to his room, and changed into the 
evening-dress of the season and the country : spotless white 
linen from head to foot, with a broad silk crnnmerhwnd. 
Dinner at the Martyns' was a decided improvement on the 
goat-mutton, twiney-tough fowl, and tinned entries of the 
CJlub. But it was a great pity Martyn could not afford to 
send his sister to the Hills for the hot weather. As an 
Acting District Superintendent of Police, Martyn drew the 
magnificent pay of six hundred depreciated silver rupees a 
month, and his little four-roomed bungalow said just as 
much. There were the usual blue-and-white striped jail- 
made rugs on the uneven floor; the usual glass-studded 
Axaiitsai phvlkaris draped to nails driven into the flaking 
whitewash of the walls ; the usual half-dozen chairs that did 
not match, picked up at sales of dead men's effects ; and the 
usual streaks of black grease where the leather punka-thong 
ran through the wall. It was as though everything had 
been unpacked the night before to be repacked next morn- 
ing. Not a door in the house was true on its hinges. The 
little windows, fifteen feet up, were darkened with wasp- 
nests, and lizards hunted flies between the beams of the 
wood-ceiled roof But all this was part of Scott's life. 
Thus did people live who had such an income ; and in a 
land where each man's pay, age, and position are printed in 
a book, that all may read, it is hardly worth while to play 
at pretences in word or deed. Scott counted eight years' 
service in the Irrigation Department, and drew eight 
hundred rupees a month, on the understanding that if he 
served the State faithfully for another twenty-two years he 
could retire on a pension of some four hundred rupees a 
month. His working life, which had been spent chiefly 



34 THE KIPLING READER 

under canvas or in temporary shelters where a man could 
sleep, eat, and write letters, was bound up with the opening 
and guarding of irrigation canals, the handling of two or 
three thousand workmen of aU castes and creeds, and the 
payment of vast sums of coined silver. He had finished 
that spring, not without credit, the last section of the great 
Mosuhl Canal, and — much against his will, for he hated 
office work — had been sent in to serve during the hot 
weather on the accounts and supply side of the Department, 
with sole charge of the sweltering sub-office at the capital of 
the Province. Martyn knew this ; William, his sister, 
knew it ; and everybody knew it. 

Scott knew, too, as well as the rest of the worid, that 
Miss Martyn had come out to India four years before, to 
keep house for her brother, who, as everyone, again, knew, 
had borrowed the money to pay for her passage, and that 
she ought, as all the worid said, to have married long ago. 
Instead of this, she had refused some half a dozen subal- 
terns, a civilian twenty years her senior, one major, and a 
man in the Indian Medical Department. This, too, was 
common property. She had 'stayed down three hot 
weathers,' as the saying is, because her brother was in debt 
and could not afford the expense of her keep at even a 
cheap hiU-station. Therefore her face was white as bone, 
and in the centre of her forehead was a big silvery scar 
about the size of a shilling — the mark of a Delhi sore, which 
is the same as a * Bagdad date.' This comes from drinking 
bad water, and slowly eats into the flesh till it is ripe 
enough to be burned out with acids. 

None the less William had enjoyed herself hugely in her 
four years. Twice she had been nearly drowned while 
fording a river on horseback ; once she had been run away 
with on a camel; had witnessed a midnight attack of 
thieves on her brother's camp ; had seen justice admini- 
stered with long sticks, in the open under trees; could 



WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR 26 

speak Urdu and even rough Punjabi with a fluency that 
was envied by her seniors ; had altogether fe,llen out of the 
habit of writing to her aunts in England, or cutting the 
pages of the English magazines ; had been through a very 
bad cholera year, seeing sights unfit to be told ; and had 
wound up her experiences by six weeks of typhoid fever, 
during which her head had been shaved ; and hoped to keep 
her twenty-third birthday that September. It is con- 
ceivable that her aunts would not have approved of a girl 
who never set foot on the ground if a horse were within 
hail; who rode to dances with a shawl thrown over her 
skirt ; who wore her hair cropped and curling all over her 
head ; who answered indifferently to the name of William 
or Bill ; whose speech was heavy with the flowers of the 
vernacular ; who could act in amateur theatricals, play on 
the banjo, rule eight servants and two horses, their accounts 
and their diseases, and look men slowly and deliberately 
between the eyes — ^yea, after they had proposed to her and 
been rejected. 

* I like men who do things,' she had confided to a man in 
the Educational Department, who was teaching the sons of 
cloth merchants and dyers the beauty of Wordsworth's ' Ex- 
cursion' in annotated cram-books; and when he grew poetical, 
William explained that she ' didn't understand poetry very 
much ; it made her head ache,' and another broken heart 
took refuge at the Club. But it was all William's fault. 
She delighted in hearing men talk of their own work, and 
that is the most fatal way of bringing a man to your feet. 

Scott had known her more or less for some three years, 
meeting her, as a rule, imder canvas when his camp and her 
brother's joined for a day on the edge of the Indian Desert. 
He had danced with her several times at the big Christmas 
gatherings, when as many as five hundred white people 
came into the station ; and he had always a great respect 
for her housekeeping and her dinners. 



26 THE KIPLING READER 

She looked more like a boy than ever when, after their 
meal, she sat, one foot tucked under her, on the leather 
camp-sofa, rolling cigarettes for her brother, her low fore- 
head puckered beneath the dark curls as she twiddled the 
papers. She stuck out her rounded chin when the tobacco 
stayed in place, and, with a gesture as true as a school-boy's 
throwing a stone, tossed the finished article across the room 
to Martyn, who caught it with one hand, and continued his 
talk with Scott. / It was all * shop,' — canals and the policing 
of canals ; the sins of villagers who stole more water than 
they had paid for, and the grosser sin of native constables 
who connived at the thefts ; of the transplanting bodily of 
villages to newly-irrigated ground, and of the coming fight 
with the desert in the south when the Provincial funds 
should warrant the opening of the long-surveyed Luni 
Protective Canal System. / And Scott spoke openly of his 
great desire to be put on one particular section of the work 
where he knew the land and the people, and Martyn sighed 
for a billet in the Himalayan foot-hills, and spoke his mind 
of his superiors, and William rolled cigarettes and said 
nothing, but smiled gravely on her brother because he was 
happy. 

At ten Scott's horse came to the door, and the evening 
was ended. 

The lights of the two low bungalows in which the daily 
paper was printed showed bright across the road. It was 
too early to try to find sleep, and Scott drifted over to the 
editor. Raines, stripped to the waist like a sailor at a gun, 
lay in a long chair, waiting for night telegrams. He had a 
theory that if a man did not stay by his work all day and 
most of the night he laid himself open to fever ; so he ate 
and slept among his files. 

*Can you do it?' he said drowsily. 'I didn't mean to 
bring you over.' 

* About what ? I've been dining at the Marty ns'.' 



WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR 27 

*The famine, of course, Martyn's warned for it, too. 
They're taking men where they can find 'em. I sent a 
note to you at the Club just now, asking if you could do 
us a letter once a week from the south — between two and 
three columns, say. Nothing sensational, of course, but 
just plain facts about who is doing what, and so forth. 
Our regular rates — ten rupees a colunm.' 

* Sorry, but it's out of my line,' Scott answered, staring 
absently at the map of India on the wall.* * It's rough on 
Martyn — very. Wonder what he'll do with his sister. 
Wonder what the deuce they'll do with me 1 I've no 
famine experience. This is the first I've heard of it. Am 
I ordered ? ' 

* Oh, yes. Here's the wire. They'll put you on relief- 
works,' Eaines went on, *with a horde of Madrassis dying 
like flies ; one native apothecary and half a pint of cholera- 
mixture among the ten thousand of you. It comes of your 
being idle for the moment. Every man who isn't doing two 
men's work seems to have been called upon. Hawkins evi- 
dently believes in Punjabis. It's going to be quite as bad 
as anything they have had in the last ten years.' 

* It's all in the day's work, worse luck. I suppose I shall 
get my orders officially some time to morrow. I'm glad 
I happened to drop in. Better go and pack my kit now. 
Who relieves me here — do you know 1 ' 

Raines turned over a sheaf of telegrams. ' McEuan,' said 
he, * from Murree.' 

Scott chuckled. ' He thought he was going to be cool all 
summer. He'U be very sick about this. Well, no good 
talking. Night* 

Two hours later, Scott, with a clear conscience, laid him- 
self down to rest on a string cot in a bare room. Two worn 
bullock-trunks, a leather water-bottle, a tin ice-box, and his 
pet saddle sewed up in sacking were piled at the door, and 
the Club secretary's receipt for last month's bill was under 



28 THE KIPLING EJEADER 

his pillow. His orders came next morning, and with them 
an unofficial telegram from Sir James Hawkins, who did not 
forget good men, bidding him report himself with all speed 
at some unpronounceable place fifteen hundred miles to the 
south, for the famine was sore in the land, and white men 
were needed. 

A pink and fattish youth arrived in the red-hot noonday, 
whimpering a little at fate and famines, which never allowed 
any one three months' peace. He was Scott's successor — 
another cog in the machinery, moved forward behind his 
fellow, whose services, as the official announcement ran, 
'were placed at the disposal of the Madras Government 
for famine duty until further orders.' Scott handed over 
the funds in his charge, showed him the coolest corner in 
the office, warned him against excess of zeal, and, as twilight 
fell, departed from the Club in a hired carriage, with his 
faithful body servant, Faiz Ullah, and a mound of disordered 
baggage atop, to catch the Southern Mail at the loopholed 
and bastioned railway-station. The heat from the thick 
brick walls struck him across the face as if it had been 
a hot towel, and he reflected that there were at least five 
nights and four days of travel before him. Faiz Ullah, 
used to the chances of service, plunged into the crowd on 
the stone platform, while Scott, a black cheroot between 
his teeth, waited till his compartment should be set away. 
A dozen native policemen, with their rifles and bundles, 
shouldered into the press of Punjabi farmers, Sikh crafts- 
men, and greasy-locked Afreedee pedlars, escorting with 
all pomp Martyn's uniform case, water-bottles, ice-box, and 
bedding-roll. They saw Faiz Ullah's lifted hand, and steered 
for it. 

* My Sahib and your Sahib,' said Faiz Ullah to Martyn's 
man, 'will travel together. Thou and I, brother, will 
thus secure the servants' places close by, and because of our 
masters' authority none will dare to disturb us.' 



WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR 29 

When Faiz Ullah reported all things ready, Scott settled 
down coatless and bootless on the broad leather-covered 
bunk. The heat under the iron- arched roof of the station 
might have been anything over a hundred degrees. At the 
last moment Martyn entered, hot and dripping. 

'Don't swear,' said Scott, lazily; 'it's too late to change 
your carriage ; and we'll divide the ice.' 

* What are you doing here 1 ' said the policeman. 

'Lent to the Madras Government, same as you. By 
Jove, it's a bender of a night! Are you taking any of 
your men down ? ' 

* A dozen. Suppose I'll have to superintend relief dis- 
tributions. Didn't know you were under orders too.' 

' I didn't till after I left you last night. Raines had the 
news first. My orders came this morning. McEuan re- 
lieved me at four, and I got oflf at once. Shouldn't wonder 
if it wouldn't be a good thing — this famine — if we come 
through it alive.' 

'Jimmy ought to put you and me to work together,' 
said Martyn ; and then, after a pause : ' My sister's here.' 

'Good business,' said Scott, heartily. 'Going to get off 
at Umballa, I suppose, and go up to Simla. Who'll she 
stay with there ? ' 

' No-o ; that's just the trouble of it. She's going down 
with me.' 

Scott sat bolt upright under the oil lamp as the train 
jolted past Tarn-Taran station. 'What ! You don't mean 
you couldn't afford — ' 

' Oh, I'd have scraped up the money somehow.' 

' You might have come to me, to begin with,' said Scott, 
stiffly ; ' we aren't altogether strangers.' 

' Well, you needn't be stuffy about it. I might, but— 
you don't know my sister. I've been explaining and ex- 
horting and entreating and commanding and all the^rest of 
it all day— lost my temper since seven this morning, and 



80 THE KIPLING READER 

haven't got it back yet — but she wouldn't hear of any 
compromise. A woman's entitled to travel with her hus- 
band if she wants to, and William says she's on the same 
footing. You see, we've been together all our lives, more 
or less, since my people died. It isn't as if she were an 
ordinary sister.' 

'All the sisters I've ever heard of would have stayed 
where they were well off.' 

'She's as clever as a man, confound her/ Martyn went 
on. *She broke up the bungalow over my head while I 
was talking at her. Settled the whole sabdiiz [outfit] in 
three hours — servants, horses, and all. I didn't get my 
orders till nine.' 

'Jimmy Hawkins won't be pleased,' said Scott. *A 
famine's no place for a woman.' 

' Mrs. Jim — I mean Lady Jim's in camp with him. At 
any rate, she says she will look after my sister. William 
wired down to her on her own responsibility, asking if she 
could come, and knocked the ground from under me by 
showing me her answer.' 

Scott laughed aloud. * K she can do that she can take 
care of herself, and Mrs. Jim won't let her run into any 
mischief There aren't many women, sisters or wives, who 
would walk into a famine with their eyes open. It isn't as 
if she didn't know what these things mean. She was 
through the Jaloo cholera last year.' 

The train stopped at Amritsar, and Scott went back to 
the ladies' compartment, immediately behind their carriage. 
William, a cloth riding-cap on her curls, nodded affably. 

* Come in and have some tea,' she said. * Best thing in 
the world for heat-apoplexy.' 

* Do I look as if I were going to have heat^apoplexy ^ ' 
'Never can tell,' said William, vnsely. 'It's always best 

to be ready.' 

She had arranged her belongings with the knowledge of 



WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR 31 

an old campaigner. A felt-covered water-bottle hung in 
the draught of one of the shuttered windows ; a tearset of 
Russian china, packed in a wadded basket, stood ready on 
the seat ; and a travelling spirit-lamp was clamped against 
the woodwork above it. 

William served them generously, in large cups, hot tea, 
which saves the veins of the neck from swelling inoppor- 
tunely on a hot night. It was characteristic of the girl 
that, her plan of action once settled, she asked for no 
comments on it. life with men who had a great deal of 
work to do, and very little time to do it in, had taught her 
the wisdom of effacing as well as of fending for herself. She 
did not by word or deed suggest that she would be useful, 
comforting, or beautiful in their travels, but continued about 
her business serenely : put the cups back without clatter 
when tea was ended, and made cigarettes for her guests. 

* This time last night,' said Scott, ' we didn't expect— er 
— ^this kind of thing, did we ? ' 

*rve learned to expect anything,' said WiUiam. 'You 
know, in our service, we live at the end of the telegraph ; 
but, of course, this ought to be a good thing for us all, 
departmentally — if we live.' 

* It knocks us out of the running in our own Province,' 
Scott replied, with equal gravity. * I hoped to be put on 
the Luni Protective Works this cold weather ; but there's 
no saying how long the famine may keep us.' 

'Hardly beyond October. I should think,' said Martyn. 
* It will be ended, one way or the other, then.' 

* And we've nearly a week of this,' said William. ' Sha'n't 
we be dusty when it's over ?' 

For a night and a day they knew their surroundings; 
and for a night and a day, skirting the edge of the great 
Indian Desert on a narrow-gauge line, they remembered 
how in the days of their apprenticeship they had come by 
that road from Bombay. Then the languages in which the 



32 THE KIPLING READER 

names of the stations were written changed, and they 
launched south into a foreign land, where the very smells 
were new. Many long and heavily-laden grain trains were 
in front of them, and they could feel the hand of Jimmy 
Hawkins from far off. They waited in extemporised sidings 
blocked by processions of empty trucks returning to the 
north, and were coupled on to slow, crawling trains, and 
dropped at midnight. Heaven knew where; but it was 
furiously hot ; and they walked to and fro among sacks, 
and dogs howled. 

Then they came to an India more strange to them than 
to the untravelled Englishman — the flat, red India of palm- 
tree, palmyra-palm, and rice, the India of the picture-books, 
of Little Henry and His Bearer — aU dead and dry in the 
baking heat. They had left the incessant passenger-traffic 
of the north and west far and far behind them. Here the 
people crawled to the side of the train, holding their little 
ones in their arms; and a loaded truck would be left 
behind, men and women clustering round and above it like 
ants by spilled honey. Once in the twilight they saw on a 
dusty plain a regiment of little brown men, each bearing a 
body over his shoulder ; and when the train stopped to leave 
yet another truck, they perceived that the burdens were not 
corpses, but only food less folk picked up beside their dead 
oxen by a corps of Irregular troops. Now they met more 
white men, here one and there two, whose tents stood close 
to the Hne, and who came armed with written authorities 
and angry words to cut off a truck. They were too busy to 
do more than nod at Scott and Marty n, and stare curiously 
at William, who could do nothing except make tea, and 
watch how her men staved off the rush of wailing, walking 
skeletons, putting them down three at a time in heaps, with 
their own hands uncoupling the marked trucks, or taking 
receipts from the hollo wed-eyed, weary white men, who 
spoke another argot than theirs. 



WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR 33 

They ran out of ice, out of soda-water, and out of tea ; 
for they were six days and seven nights on the road, and it 
seemed to them Kke seven times seven years. 

At last, in a dry, hot dawn, in a land of death, lit by 
long red fires of railway sleepers, where they were burning 
the dead, they came to their destination, and were met by 
Jim Hawkins, the Head of the Famine, unshaven, unwashed, 
but cheery, and entirely in command of aflfairs. 

Martyn, he decreed, then and there, was to live on trains 
till further orders; was to go back with empty trucks, 
filling them with starving people as he found them, and 
dropping them at a famine-camp on the edge of the Eight 
Districts. He would pick up supplies and return, and his 
constables would guard the loaded grain-cars, also picking 
up people, and would drop them at a camp a hundred miles 
south. Scott — Hawkins was very glad to see Scott again 
— would, that same hour, take charge of a convoy of bullock- 
carts, and woul(J go south, feeding as he went, to yet another 
famine-camp, far from the rail, where he would leave his 
starving — ^there would be no lack of starving on the route 
— ;and wait for orders by telegraph. Generally, Scott was 
in all small things to do what he thought best. 

William bit her under lip. There was no one in the wide 
world like her one brother, but Martyn's orders gave him 
no discretion. She came out, masked with dust from head 
to foot, a horse-shoe wrinkle on her forehead, put here by 
much thinking during the past week, but as self-possessed 
as ever. Mrs. Jim — who should have been Lady Jim, but 
that no one remembered to call her aright — took possession 
of her with a little gasp. 

* Oh, I'm so glad you're here,' she almost sobbed. ' You 
oughtn't to, of course, but there— there isn't another 
woman in the place, and we must help each other, you 
know; and we've all the wretched people and the little 

babies they are selling.' 

K.n. c 



34 THE KIPLING HEADER 

*Fve seen some,' said William. 

' Isn't it ghastly ? I've bought twenty ; they're in our 
camp ; but won't you have something to eat first 1 We've 
more than ten people can do here ; and I've got a horse for 
you. Oh, I'm so glad you've come ! You're a Punjabi too, 
you know.' 

' Steady, Lizzie,' said Hawkins, over his shoulder. * We'll 
look after you, Miss Martyn. Sorry I can't ask you to 
breakfast, Martyn. You'll have to eat as you go. Leave 
two of your men to help Scott. These poor devils can't 
stand up to load carts. Saunders ' (this to the engine-driver, 
half asleep in the cab), * back down and get those empties 
away.' You've * line clear ' to Anundrapillay ; they'll give 
you orders north of that. Scott, load up your carts from 
that B. P. P. truck, and be off as soon as you can. The 
Eurasian in the pink shirt is your interpreter and guide. 
You'll find an apothecary of sorts tied to the yoke of the 
second wagon. He's been trying to bolt ; you'll have to 
look after him. Lizzie, drive Miss Martyn to camp, and 
tell them to send the red horse down here for me.' 

Scott, with Faiz Ullah and two policemen, was already 
busy on the carts, backing them up to the truck and 
unbolting the sideboards quietly, while the others pitched 
in the bags of millet and wheat. Hawkins watched him for 
as long as it took to fill one cart. 

'That's a good man,' he said. * If all goes well I shall 
work him — hard.' This was Jim Hawkins's notion of the 
highest compliment one human being could pay another. 

An hour later Scott was under way; the apothecary 
threatening him with the penalties of the law for that he, a 
member of the Subordinate Medical Department, had been 
coerced and bound against his will and all laws governing 
the liberty of the subject ; the pink-shirted Eurasian beg- 
ging leave to see his mother, who happened to be dying 
some three miles away : ' Only verree, verree short leave 



WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR 35 

of absence, and will presently return, sar — ' ; the two con- 
stables, anned with staves, bringing up the rear ; and Faiz 
Ullah, a Mohammedan's contempt for all Hindoos and 
foreigners in every line of his face, explaining to the drivers 
that though Scott Sahib was a man to be feared on all 
fours, he, Faiz UUah, was Authority itself. 

The procession creaked past Hawkins's camp — three 
stained tents under a clump of dead trees ; behind them 
the famine-shed where a crowd of hopeless ones tossed their 
arms around the cooking-kettles, 

' Wish to Heaven William had kept out of it,' said Scott 
to himseh^ after a glance. * We'll have cholera, sure as a 
gun, when the Rains come.' 

But WiUiam seemed to have taken kindly to the opera- 
tions of the Famine Code, which, when famine is declared, 
supersede the workings of the ordinary law. Scott saw her, 
the centre of a mob of weeping women, in a calico riding- 
habit and a blue-gray felt hat with a gold puggaree. 

* I want fifty rupees, please. I forgot to ask Jack before 
he went away. Can you lend it me ? It's for condensed 
milk for the babies,' said she. 

Scott took the money from his belt, and handed it over 
without a word. * For goodness sake take care of yourself,' 
he said. 

* Oh, I shall be all right. We ought to get the milk in 
two days. By the way, the orders are, I was to tell you, 
that you're to take one of Sir Jim's horses. There's a gray 
Cabuli here that I thought would be just your style, so I've 
said you'd take him. Was that right ? ' 

* That's awfuUy good of you. We can't either of us talk 
much about style, I'm afraid.' 

Scott was in a weather-stained drill shooting-kit, very 
white at the seams and a little frayed at the wrists. 
William regarded him thoughtfully, from his pith helmet to 
his greased ankle-boots. 'You look very nice, I think. Are 



86 THE KIPLING READER 

you sure you've everything you'll need — quinine, chloro- 
dyne, and so on 1 ' 

* Think so,' said Scott, patting three or four of his shoot- 
ing pockets as the horse was led up, and he mounted and 
rode alongside his convoy. 

* Good-bye,' he cried. 

* Good-bye, and good luck,' said William. * I'm awfully 
obliged for the money,' She turned on a spurred heel and 
disappeared into the tent, while the carts pushed on past 
the famine-sheds, past the roaring lines of the thick, fet 
fires, down to the baked Gehenna of the South. 



WILLIAM THE CONQUEKOR 
PART n 

So let us melt and makke no noise, 

No tear-floods nor sigh -tempests move ; 

'Twere profanation of our joys 
To tell the laity our love. 

A VAIiEDICTION. 

It was punishing work, even though he travelled by night 
and camped by day ; but within the limits of his vision 
there was no man whom Scott could call master. He was 
as free as Jinuny Hawkins — freer, in fact, for the Govern- 
ment held the Head of the Famine tied neatly to a 
telegraph-wire, and if Jimmy had ever regarded telegrams 
seriously, the death-rate of that famine would have been 
much higher than it was. 

At the end of a few days' crawling Scott learned some- 
thing of the size of the India which he served; and it 
astonished him. His carts, as you know, were loaded with 
wheat, millet, and barley, good food-grains needing only a 
little grinding. But the people to whom he brought the 
life-giving stuffs were rice eaters. They knew how to .hull 
rice in their mortars, but they knew nothing of the heavy 
stone querns of the North, and less of the material that the 
white man convoyed so laboriously. They clamoured for 

37 



38 THE KIPLING READER 

rice — unhusked paddy, such as they were accustomed to— 
and, when they found that there was none, broke away 
weeping from the sides of the cart. What was the use of 
these strange hard grains that choked their throats 1 They 
would die. And then and there were many of them kept 
their word. Others took their allowance, and bartered 
enough millet to feed a man through a week for a few 
handfuls of rotten rice saved by some less unfortunate. A 
few put their shares into the rice-mortars, pounded it, and 
made a paste with foul water; but they were very few. 
Scott understood dimly that many people in the India of 
the South ate rice, as a rule, but he had spent his service in 
a grain Province, had seldom seen rice in the blade or the 
ear, and least of all would have believed that, in time of 
deadly need, men would die at arm's length of plenty, 
sooner than touch food they did not know. In vain the 
interpreters interpreted ; in vain his two policemen showed 
by vigorous pantomime what should be done. The starving 
crept away to their bark and weeds, grubs, leaves, and clay, 
and left the open sacks untouched. But sometimes the 
women laid their phantoms of children at Scott's feet, 
looking back as they staggered away. 

Faiz Ullah opined it was the will of Grod that these 
foreigners should die, and therefore it remained only to give 
orders to bum the dead. None the less there was no reason 
why the Sahib should lack his comforts, and Faiz Ullah, a 
campaigner of experience, had picked up a few lean goats 
and had added them to the procession. That they might 
give milk for the morning meal, he was feeding them on the 
good grain that these imbeciles rejected. ' Yes,' said Faiz 
Ullah ; * if the Sahib thought fit, a little milk might be 
given to some of the babies ' ; but, as the Sahib well knew, 
babies were cheap, and, for his own part, Faiz Ullah held 
that there was no Grovemment order as to babies. Scott 
spoke forcefully to Faiz Ullah and the two policemen, and 



WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR 39 

bade them capture goats where they could find them. This 
they most joyfully did, for it was a recreation, and many 
ownerless goats were driven in. Once fed, the poor brutes 
were willing enough to follow the carts, and a few days' 
good food — ^food such as human beings died for lack of— set 
them in milk again. 

' But I am no goatherd,' said Faiz Ullah. * It is against 
my izzcU [my honour].' 

*When we cross the Bias River again we will talk of 
izzatj' Scott replied. 'Till that day thou and the police- 
men shall be sweepers to the camp, if I give the order.' 

* Thus, then, it is done,' grunted Faiz Ullah, * if the Sahib 
will have it so' ; and he showed how a goat should be milked, 
while Scott stood over him. 

* Now we will feed them,' said Scott ; ' thrice a day we 
wiU feed them'; and he bowed his back to the milking, 
and took a horrible cramp. 

When you have to keep connection unbroken between 
a restless mother of kids and a baby who is at the point of 
death, you suffer in all your system. But the babies were 
fed. Morning, noon and evening Scott would solemnly lift 
them out one by one from their nest of gunny-bags under 
the cart-tQts. There were always many who could do no 
more than breathe, and the milk was dropped into their 
toothless mouths drop by drop, with due pauses when they 
choked. Each morning, too, the goats were fed ; and since 
they would struggle without a leader, and since the natives 
were hirelings, Scott was forced to give up riding, and pace 
slowly at the head of his flocks, accommodating his step to 
their weaknesses. All this was sufficiently absurd, and he 
felt the absurdity keenly ; but at least he was saving life, 
and when the women saw that their children did not die, 
they made shift to eat a little of the strange foods, and 
crawled after the carts, blessing the master of the goats. 

<Give the women something to live for,' said Scott to 



40 THE KIPLING READER 

himself as he sneezed in the dust of a hundred little feet, 
*and they'll hang on somehow. But this beats William's 
condensed milk trick aU to pieces. I shall never live it 
down, though.' 

He reached his destination very slowly, found that a 
rice-ship had come in from Burmah, and that stores of 
paddy were available; found also an overworked English- 
man in charge of the shed, and, loading the carts, set back 
to cover the ground he had already passed. He left some 
of the children and half his goats at the famine-shed. For 
this he was not thanked by the Englishman, who had already 
more stray babies than he knew what to do with. Scott's 
back was suppled to stooping now, and he went on with his 
wayside ministrations in addition to distributing the paddy. 
More babies and more goats were added unto him ; but now 
some of the babies wore rags, and beads round their wrists 
or necks. * That, said the interpreter, as though Scott did 
not know, 'signifies that their mothers hope in eventual 
contingency to resume them offeecially.' 

' The sooner the better,' said Scott ; but at the same time 
he marked, with the pride of ownership, how this or that 
little Ramasawmy was putting on flesh like a bantam. As 
the paddy carts were emptied he headed for Hawkins's 
camp by the railway, timing his arrival to fit in with the 
dinner-hour, for it was long since he had eaten at a cloth. 
He had no desire to make any dramatic entry, but an acci- 
dent of the sunset ordered it that, when he had taken off 
his helmet to get the evening breeze, the low light should 
fall across his forehead, and he could not see what was 
before him; while one waiting at the tent door beheld, 
with new eyes, a young man, beautiful as Paris, a god in 
a halo of golden dust, walking slowly at the head of his 
flocks, while at his knee ran small naked Cupids. But she 
laughed — William, in a slate-coloured blouse, laughed con- 
sumedly till Scott, putting the best face he could upon the 



WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR 41 

matter, halted his armies and bade her admire the kinder- 
garten. It was an unseemly sight, but the proprieties had 
been left ages ago, with the tea-party at Amritsar Station, 
fifteen hundred miles to the northward. 

* They are coming on nicely,' said William. * We've only 
five-and-twenty here now. The women are beginning to 
take them away. again.' 

' Are you in charge of the babies, then 1 ' 

* Yes — Mrs. Jim and I. We didn't think of goats, though. 
We've been trying condensed Tm'ITr and water.' 

* Any losses ? ' 

'More than I care to think of,' said William, with a 
shudder. * And you ? ' 

Scott said nothing. There had been many little burials 
along his route — many mothers who had wept when they 
did not find again the children they had trusted to the care 
of the Grovemment. 

Then Hawkins came out carrying a razor, at which 
Scott looked hungrily, for he had a beard that he did not 
love. And when they sat down to dinner in the tent 
he told his tale in few words, as it might have been an 
official report. Mrs. Jim snuffled fi'om time to time, and 
Jim bowed his head judicially; but William's gray eyes 
were on the clean-shaven fece, and it was to her that Scott 
seemed to speak. 

* Good for the Pauper Province ! ' said William, her chin 
in her hand, as she leaned forward among the wine-glasses. 
Her cheeks had fallen in, and the scar on her forehead was 
more prominent than ever, but the well-turned neck rose 
roundly as a column from the ruffle of the blouse which was 
the accepted evening-dress in camp. 

* It was awfully absurd at tknes,' said Scott. * You see 
I didn't know much about milking or babies. They'll 
chaff my head off, if the tale goes north.' 

*Let 'em,' said William, haughtily. 'We've all done 



43 THE KIPLING READER 

coolie- work since we came. I know Jack has.' This was 
to Hawkins's address, and the big man smiled blandly. 

' Your brother's a highly efficient officer, William,' said he, 
and I've done him the honour of treating him as he 
deserves. Remember, I write the confidential reports.' 

' Then you must say that WiUiam's worth her weight in 
gold,' said Mrs. Jim. ' I don't know what we should have 
done without her. She has been everything to us.' She 
dropped her hand upon William's, which was rough with 
much handling of reins, and William patted it softly. Jim 
beamed on the company. Things were going well with his 
world. Three of his more grossly incompetent men had 
died, and their places had been filled by their betters. 
Every day brought the rains nearer. They had put out 
the famine in five of the Eight Districts, and, after all, the 
death-rate had not been too heavy — things considered. He 
looked Scott over carefully, as an ogre looks over a man, 
and rejoiced in his thews and iron-hard condition. 

* He's just the least bit in the world tucked up,' said Jim 
to himself, * but he can do two men's work yet.' Then he 
was aware that Mrs. Jim was telegraphing to him, and 
according to the domestic code the message ran : * A clear 
case. Look at them ! ' 

He looked and listened. All that William was saying 
was : * What can you expect of a country where they call a 
bhistee [a water-carrier] a tunni-cutch V and all that Scott 
answered was : * I shall be precious glad to get back to the 
Club. Save me a dance at the Christmas ball, won't you ? ' 

' It's a far cry from here to the Lawrence Hall,' said Jim. 
'Better turn in early, Scott. It's paddy-carts to-morrow; 
youll begin loading at five.' 

' Aren't you going to give Mr. Scott one day's rest ? ' 

* Wish I could, Lizzie. 'Fraid I can't. As long as he can 
stand up we must use him.' 

* Well, I've had one Europe evening, at least ... By 



WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR 43 

Jove, I'd nearly forgotten! What do I do about those 
babies of mine ? ' 

'Leave them here,' said WiUiam — 'we are in charge of 
that — and as many goats as you can spare. I must learn 
how to milk now.' 

' K you care to get up early enough to-morrow I'U show 
you. I have to milk, you see ; and, by the way, half of 
'em have beads and things round their necks. You must be 
careful not to take 'em oflF, in case the mothers turn up.' 

'You forget I've had some experience here.' 

'I hope to goodness you won't overdo.' Scott's voice 
was unguarded. 

'I'U take care of her,' said Mrs. Jim, telegraphing 
hundred-word messages as she carried William off, while 
Jim gave Scott his orders for the coming campaign. It was 
very late — nearly nine o'clock. 

* Jim, you're a brute,' said his wife, that night ; and the 
Head of the Famine chuckled. 

'Not a bit of it, dear I remember doing the first 
Jandiala Settlement for the sake of a girl in a crinoline ; 
and she was slender, Lizzie. I've never done as good a 
piece of work since. He'H work like a demon-' 

' But you might have given him one day.' 

' And let things come to a head now 1 No, dear ; it's 
their happiest time.' 

'I don't believe either of the dears know what's the 
matter with them. Isn't it beautiful ? Isn't it lovely ? ' 

' Getting up at three to learn to milk, bless her heart ! 
Ye gods, why must we grow old and fat 1 ' 

' She's a darling. She has done more work under me—' 

' Under you I The day after she came she was in charge 
and you were her subordinate, and you've stayed there ever 
since. She manages you almost as well as you manage me.' 

'She doesn't, and that's why I love her. She's as direct 
as a man — as her brother.' 



44 THE KIPLING EEADER 

* Her brother's weaker than she is. He's always coming 
to me for orders ; but he's honest, and a glutton for work. 
I confess I'm rather fond of William, and if I had a 
daughter — ' 

The talk ended there. Far away in the Derajat was a 
child's grave more than twenty years old, and neither Jim 
nor his wife spoke of it any more. 

'All the same, you're responsible,' Jim added, after a 
moment's silence. 

* Bless 'em,' said Mrs. Jim, sleepily. 

Before the stars paled, Scott, who slept in an empty cart, 
waked and went about his work in silence ; it seemed at 
that hour unkind to rouse Faiz Ullah and the interpreter. 
His head being close to the ground, he did not hear William 
till she stood over him in the dingy old riding-habit, her 
eyes still heavy with sleep, a cup of tea and a piece of toast 
in her hands. There was a baby on the ground, squirming 
on a piece of blanket, and a six-year-old child peered over 
Scott's shoulder. 

* Hai, you little rip,' said Scott, * how the deuce do you 
expect to get your rations if you aren't quiet 1 ' 

A cool white hand steadied the brat, who forthwith 
choked as the milk gurgled into his mouth. 

* Mornin',' said the milker. ' You've no notion how 
these little fellows can wriggle.' 

*0h, yes, I have.' She whispered, because the world 
was asleep. 'Only I feed them with a spoon or a rag. 
Yours are fatter than mine. . . . And you've been doing 
this day after day, twice a day 1 ' The voice was almost 
lost. 

'Yes; it was absurd. Now you try,' he said, giving 
place to the girl. ' Look out ! A goat's not a cow.' 

The goat protested against the amateur, and there was a 
scuffle, in which Scott snatched up the baby. Then it was 
all to do over again, and William laughed softly and 



WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR 45 

merrily. She managed, however, to feed two babies, and a 
thiixL 

* Don't the little beggars take it well!' said Scott. *I 
trained 'em.' 

They were very busy and interested, when, lo ! it was 
broad daylight, and before they knew, the camp was awake, 
and they kneeled among the goats, surprised by the day, 
both flushed to the temples. Yet all the round world 
rolling up out of the darkness might have heard and seen 
all that had passed between them. 

*0h,' said William, unsteadily, snatching up the tea and 
toast, *I had this made for you. It's stone-cold now. I 
thought you mightn't have anything ready so early. 
Better not drink it. It's — it's stone-cold.' 

* That's awfully kind of you. It's just right. It's 
awfully good of you, really. I'll leave my kids and goats 
with you and Mrs. Jim ; and, of course, any one in camp 
can show you about the milking.' 

*0f course,' said William; and she grew pinker and 
pinker and statelier and more stately, as she strode back to 
her tent, fanning herself vigorously with the saucer. 

There were shrill lamentations through the camp when 
the elder children saw their nurse move off without them. 
Faiz Ullah unbent so far as to jest with the policemen, and 
Scott turned purple with shame because Hawkins, already 
in the saddle, roared. 

A child escaped from the care of Mrs. Jim, and, running 
like a rabbit, clung to Scott's boot, William pursuing with 
long, easy strides. 

' I wiU not go — I will not go ! ' shrieked the child, twining 
his feet roimd Scott's ankle. ' They will kill me here. I 
do not know these people.' 

*I say,' said Scott, in broken Tamil, 'I say, she will 
do you no harm. Go with her and be well fed.' 

* Come ! ' said William, panting, with a wrathftil glance 



46 THE KIPLING READER 

at Scott, who stood helpless and, as it were, ham- 
strung. 

' Gro back,' said Scott quickly to William. ' I'll send the 
little chap over in a minute.' 

The tone of authority had its effect, but in a way Scott 
did not exactly intend. The boy loosened his grasp, and 
said with gravity, 'I did not know the woman was thine. 
I will go.' Then he cried to his companions, a mob of 
three-, four-, and five-year-olds waiting on the success of his 
venture ere they stampeded : * Gro back and eat. It is our 
man's woman. She will obey his orders.' 

Jim collapsed where he sat; Faiz UHah and the two police- 
men grinned; and Scott's orders to the cartmen flew like hail. 

* That is the custom of the Sahibs when truth is told in 
their presence,' said Faiz Ullah. ' The time comes that I 
must seek new service. Young wives, especially such as 
speak our language and have knowledge of the ways of the 
Police, make great trouble for honest butlers in the^ matter 
of weekly accounts.' 

What WiUiam thought of it all she did not say, but when 
her brother, ten days later, came to camp for orders, and 
heard of Scott's performances, he said, laughing: 'Well, 
that settles it. He'll be Bakri Scott to the end of his days ' 
(Bahrij in the northern vernacular, means a goat). ' What 
a lark ! I'd have given a month's pay to have seen him 
nursing famine babies. I fed some with conjee [rice-water], 
but that was all right.' 

'It's perfectly disgusting,' said his sister, with blazing 
eyes. * A man does something like — like that — and all you 
other men think of is to give him an absurd nickname, and 
then you laugh and think it's funny.' 
'Ah,' said Mrs. Jim, sympathetically. 
' Well, y(m can't talk, William. You christened little 
Miss Demby the Button-quail last cold weather ; you know 
you did. India's the land of nicknames.' 



WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR 47 

* That's different,' William replied. 'She was only a 
girl, and she hadn't done anything except walk like a quail, 
and she does. But it isn't fair to make fun of a man.' 

* Scott won't care,' said Marty n. * You can't get a rise 
out of old Scotty. I've been trpng for eight years, and 
you've only known him for three. How does he look 1 ' 

*He looks very well,' said William, and went away with 
a flushed cheek. * Bahi, Scott, indeed ! ' Then she laughed 
to herself, for she knew the country of her service. * But 
it will be Bakri all the same'; and she repeated it under her 
breath several times slowly, whispering it into favour. 

When he returned to his duties on the railway, Martyn 
spread the name far and wide among his associates, so that 
Scott met it as he led his paddy-carts to war. The natives 
believed it to be some English title of honour, and the cart- 
drivers used it in all simplicity tiU Faiz UUah, who did not 
approve of foreign japes, broke their heads. There was 
very little time for milking now, except at the big camps, 
where Jim had extended Scott's idea, and was feeding 
large flocks on the useless northern grains. Enough paddy 
had come into the Eight Districts to hold the people safe, if 
it were only distributed quickly ; and for that purpose no 
one was better than the big Canal officer, who never lost his 
temper, never gave an unnecessary order, and never 
questioned an order given. Scott pressed on, saving his 
cattle, washing their galled necks daily, so that no 
time should be lost on the road ; reported himself with his 
rice at the minor famine-sheds, unloaded, and went back 
light by forced night-march to the next distributing centre, 
to find Hawkins's unvarying telegram : * Do it again.' And 
he did it again and again, and yet again, while Jim 
Hawkins, fifty miles away, marked off on a big map the 
tracks of his wheels gridironing the stricken lands. Others 
did well— Hawkins reported at the end that they all did 
well— but Scott was the most excellent, for he kept good 



48 THE KIPLING READER 

coined rupees by him, and paid for his own carfc-repairs on 
the spot, and ran to meet all sorts of unconsidered extras, 
trusting to be recouped later. Theoretically, the Govern- 
ment should have paid for every shoe and Hnchpin, for 
every hand employed in the loading; but Government 
vouchers cash themselves slowly, and intelligent and 
efficient clerks write at great length, contesting unauthor- 
ised expenditures of eight annas. The man who wishes to 
make his work a success must draw on his own bank-account 
of money or other things as he goes. 

' I told you he'd work,' said Jimmy to his wife at the 
end of six weeks. * He's been in sole charge of a couple of 
thousand men up north on the Mosuhl Canal for a year, and 
he gives one less trouble than young Martyn with his ten 
constables; and I'm morally certain — only Government 
doesn't recognise moral obligations — that he's spent about 
half his pay to grease his wheels. Look at this, Lizzie, for 
one week's work! Forty miles in two days with twelve 
carts; two days'' halt building a famine-shed for young 
Rogers (Rogers ought to have built it himself the idiot !). 
Then forty miles back again, loading six carts on the 
way, and distributing all Sunday. Then in the evening he 
pitches in a twenty-page demi-official to me, saying that the 
people where he is might be " advantageously employed on 
relief-work," and suggesting that he put 'em to work on 
some broken-down old reservoir he's discovered, so as to 
have a good water-supply when the Rains come. He thinks 
he can caulk the dam in a fortnight. Look at his marginal 
sketches — aren't they clear and good ? I knew he was 
jmkka^ but I didn't know he was as pukhi as this ! ' 

*I must show these to William,' said Mrs. Jim. 'The 
child's wearing herself out among the babies.' 

*Not more than you are, dear. Well, another two 
months ought to see us out of the wood. I'm sorry it's not 
in my power to recommend you for a V.C 



WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR 49 

William sat late in her tent that night, reading through 
page after page of the square handwriting, patting the 
sketches of proposed repairs to the reservoir, and wrinkling 
her eyebrows over the columns of figures of estimated 
water-supply. 

* And he finds time to do all this,' she cried to herself, 

* and . . . well, I also was present. I've saved one or two 
babies.' 

She dreamed for the twentieth time of the god in the 
golden dust, and woke refreshed to feed loathsome black 
children, scores of them, wastrels picked up by the way- 
side, their bones almost breaking their skin, terrible and 
covered with sores. 

Scott was not allowed to leave his cart work, but his 
letter was duly forwarded to the Government, and he had 
the consolation, not rare in India, of knowing that another 
man was reaping where he had sown. That also was dis- 
cipline profitable to the soul. 

'He's much too good to waste on canals,' said Jimmy. 
'Any one can oversee coolies. You needn't be angry, 
William: he can— but I need my pearl among bullock- 
drivers, and I've transferred him to the Khanda district, 
where he'll have it all to do over again. He should be 
marching now.' 

* He's not a coolie,' said William furiously. * He ought to 
be doing his regulation work.' 

*He's the best man in his service, and that's saying a 
good deal ; but if you must use razors to cut grindstones, 
why, I prefer the best cutlery.' 

' Isn't it almost time we saw him again ? ' said Mrs. Jim. 

* I'm sure the poor boy hasn't had a respectable meal for a 
month. He probably sits on a cart and eats sardines with 
his fingers.' 

' All in good time, dear. Duty before decency— wasn't it 

Mr. Chucks said that % ' 

K.R. I> 



60 THE KIPLING EEADER 

'No; it was Midshipman Easy,' William laughed. *I 
sometimes wonder how it will feel to dance or listen to 
a band again, or sit under a roof. I can't believe that 
I ever wore a ball-frock in my life.' 

* One minute,' said Mrs. Jim, who was thinking. ' If he 
goes to Khanda, he passes within five miles of us. Of 
course he'll ride in.' 

* Oh, no, he won't,' said William. 
' How do you know, dear 1 ' 

' It'll take him off his work. He won't have time.' 

* He'll make it,' said Mrs. Jim, with a twinkle. 

* It depends on his own judgment. There's absolutely no 
reason why he shouldn't, if he thinks fit,' said JinL 

'He won't see fit,' William replied, without sorrow or 
emotion. ' It wouldn't be him if he did.' 

* One certainly gets to know people rather well in times 
like these,' said Jim, drily ; but William's face was serene 
as ever, and, even as she prophesied, Scott did not appear. 

The Eains fell at last, late, but heavily ; and the dry, 
gashed earth was red mud, and servants killed snakes in 
the camp, where every one was weather-bound for a fort- 
night — all except Hawkins, who took horse and splashed 
about in the wet, rejoicing. Now the Government decreed 
that seed-grain should be distributed to the people, as well 
as advances of money for the purchase of new oxen ; and 
the white men were doubly worked for this new duty, 
while William skipped from brick to brick laid down on 
the trampled mud, and dosed her charges with warming 
medicines that made them rub their little round stomachs ; 
and the milch-goats throve on the rank grass. There was 
never a word from Scott in the Khanda district, away 
to the south-east, except the regular telegraphic report 
to Hawkins. The rude country roads had disappeared; 
his drivers were half mutinous; one of Martyn's loaned 
policemen had died of cholera ; and Scott was taking 



WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR 61 

thirty grains of quinine a day to fight the fever that comes 
if one works hard in heavy rain ; but those were things 
he did not consider necessary to report. He was, as 
usual, working from a base of supplies on a railway line, to 
cover a circle of fifteen miles radius, and since full loads 
were impossible, he took quarter-loads, and toiled four 
times as hard by consequence; for he did not choose to 
risk an epidemic which might have grown uncontrollable 
by assembling villagers in thousands at the relief-sheds. It 
was cheaper to take Government bullocks, work them to 
death, and leave them to the crows in the wayside sloughs. 

That was the time when eight years of clean living and 
hard condition told, though a man's head were ringing like 
a beU from the cinchona, and the earth swayed under his 
feet when he stood and under his bed when he slept. If 
Hawkins had seen fit to make him a bullock-driver, that, he 
thought, was entirely Hawkins's own affair. There were 
men in the North who would know what he had done; 
men of thirty years' service in his own department who 
would say that it was 'not half bad'; and above, im- 
measurably above all men of all grades, there was William 
in the thick of the fight, who would approve because she 
understood. He had so trained his mind that it would 
hold fast to the mechanical routine of the day, though his 
own voice sounded strange in his own ears, and his hands, 
when he wrote, grew large as pillows or small as peas at the 
end of his wrists. That steadfastness bore his body to the 
telegraph-office at the railway-station, and dictated a tele- 
gram to Hawkins, saying that the Khanda district was, in 
his judgment, now safe, and he * waited further orders.' 

The Madrassee telegraph-clerk did not approve of a large, 
gaunt man falling over him in a dead faint, not so much 
because of the weight, as because of the names and blows 
that Faiz Ullah dealt him when he found the body rolled 
under a bench. Then Faiz Ullah took blankets and quilts 



52 THE KIPLING KEADER 

and coverlets where he found them, and lay down under 
them at his master^s side, and biDund his arms with a tent- 
rope, and filled him with a horrible stew of herbs, and set 
the policeman to fight him when he wished to escape fix)m 
the intolerable heat of his coverings, and shut the door 
of the telegraph-office to keep out the curious for two nights 
and one day ; and when a light engine came down the line, 
and Hawkins kicked in the door, Scott hailed him weakly, 
but in a natural voice, and Faiz Ullah stood back and took 
all the credit. 

' For two nights, Heaven-bom, he was 'pagaX^ said Faiz 
UUah. 'Look at my nose, and consider the eye of the 
policeman. He beat us with his bound hands ; but we sat 
upon him. Heaven-bom, and though his words were tez^ we 
sweated him. Heaven-born, never has been such a sweat I 
He is weaker now than a child ; but the fever has gone out 
of him, by the grace of God. There remains only my nose 
and the eye of the constabeel. Sahib, shall I ask for my 
dismissal because my Sahib has beaten me*?' And Faiz 
Ullah laid his long thin hand carefully on Scott's chest to 
be sure that the fever was all gone, ere he went out to open 
tinned soups and discourage such as laughed at his swelled 
nose. 

'The district's all right,' Scott whispered. *It doesn't 
make any difference. You got my wire ? I shall be fit in a 
week. 'Can't understand how it happened. I shall be fit 
in a few days.' 

'You're coming into camp with us,' said Hawkins. 

* But look here — but — ' 

' It's aU over except the shouting. We sha'n't need you 
Punjabis any more. On my honour, we sha'n't. Martyn 
goes back in a few weeks; Arbuthnot's returned already; 
Ellis and Clay are putting the last touches to a new feeder- 
line the Government's built as relief-work Morten's dead 
— he was a Bengal man, though ; you wouldn't know him. 



WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR 63 

Ton my word, you and Will — Miss Martyn — seem to have 
come through it as well as anybody.' 

* Oh, how is she ? ' The voice went up and down as he 
spoke. 

*She was in great form when I left her. The Roman 
Catholic Missions are adopting the unclaimed babies to turn 
them into little priests ; the Basil Mission is taking some, 
and the mothers are taking the rest. You should hear the 
little beggars howl when they're sent away from William. 
She's pulled down a bit, but so are we alL Now, when do 
you suppose you'll be able to move ? ' 

*I can't come into camp in this state. I won't,' he 
replied pettishly. 

* Well, you are rather a sight, but from what I gathered 
there it seemed to me they'd be glad to see you under any 
conditions. Ill look over your work here, if you like, for a 
couple of days, and you can pull yourself together while 
Faiz Ullah feeds you up.' 

Scott could walk dizzily by the time Hawkins's inspection 
was ended, and he flushed all over when Jim said of his 
work in the district that it was * not half bad,' and volun- 
teered, frirther, that he had considered Scott his right-hand 
man through the famine, and would feel it his duty to say 
as much officially. 

So they came back by rail to the old camp ; but there 
were no crowds near it, the long fires in the trenches were 
dead and black, and the famine-sheds stood almost empty. 

* You see ! ' said Jim. * There isn't much more for us to 
do. Better ride up and see the wife. They've pitched a 
tent for you. Dinner's at seven. I'll see you then.' 

Riding at a foot-pace, Faiz Ullah by his stirrup, Scott 
came to William in the brown-calico riding-habit, sitting at 
the dining-tent door, her hands in her lap, white m ashes, 
thin and worn, with no lustre in her hair. There did not 
seem to be any Mrs. Jim on the horizon, and all that 



54 THE KIPLING READER 

William could say was : * My word, how pulled down you 
look ! ' 

* I've had a touch of fever. You don't look very well 
yourself.' 

* Oh, I'm fit enough. We've stamped it out. I suppose 
you know 1 ' 

Scott nodded. * We shall all be returned in a few weeks. 
Hawkins told me.' 

* Before Christmas, Mrs. Jim says. Sha'n't you be glad 
to go back 1 1 can smell the wood-smoke already ' ; 
William sniffed. ' We shall be in time for all the Christmas 
doings. I don't suppose even the Punjab Grovemment 
would be base enough to transfer Jack till the new year 1 ' 

*It seems hundreds of years ago — the Punjab and all 
that — doesn't it ? Are you glad you came 1 ' 

* Now it's all over, yes. It has been ghastly here. You 
know we had to sit still and do nothing, and Sir Jim was 
away so much.' 

* Do nothing ! . How did you get on with the milking 1 ' 

* I managed it somehow — after you taught me.' 

Then the talk stopped with an almost audible jar. Still 
no Mrs. Jim. 

' That reminds me I owe you fifty rupees for the con- 
densed milk. I thought perhaps you'd be coming here 
when you were transferred to the Khanda district, and I 
could pay you then ; but you didn't.' 

* I passed within five miles of the camp. It was in the 
middle of a march, you see, and the carts were breaking 
down every few minutes, and I couldn't get 'em over the 
ground till ten o'clock that night. But I wanted to come 
awfully. You knew I did, didn't you 1 ' 

*I — believe — I — did,' said WiUiam, facing him with level 
eyes. She was no longer white. 

* Did you understand ? ' 

* Why you didn't ride in ? Of course I did.' 



WILLIAM THE CONQUEEOR 55 

*WhyV 

* Because you couldn't of course. I knew that.' 

* Did you care 1 ' 

* If you had come in — but I knew you wouldn't — but if 
you hadj I should have cared a great deal. You know I 
should.' 

* Thank God I didn't ! Oh, but I wanted to ! I couldn't 
trust myself to ride in front of the carts, because I kept 
edging ',em over here, don't you know % ' 

*I knew you wouldn't,' said William, contentedly^ 
* Here's your fifty.' 

Scott bent forward and kissed the hand that held the 
greasy notes. Its fellow patted him awkwardly but very 
tenderly on the head. 

* And you knew, too, didn't you ? ' said William, in a new 
voice. 

* No, on my honour, I didn't. I hadn't the — the cheek 
to expect anything of the kind, except ... I say, were you 
out riding anywhere the day I passed by to Khanda ? ' 

William nodded, and smiled after the manner of an angel 
surprised in a good deed. 

*Then it was just a speck I saw of your habit in 
the—' 

'Palm-grove on the Southern cart-road. I saw your 
helmet when you came up from the nullah by the temple 
— ^just enough to be sure that you were all right. D'you 
care ? ' 

This time Scott did not kiss her hand, for they were in 
the dusk of the dining-tent, and, because William's knees 
were trembling under her, she had to sit down in the 
nearest chair, where she wept long and happily, her head 
on her arms ; and when Scott imagined that it would be 
well to comfort her, she needed nothing of the kind ; she 
ran to her own tent ; and Scott went out into the world, 
and smiled upon it largely and idioticaUy. But when Faiz 



56 THE KIPLING EEADKR 

Ullah brought him a drink, he found it necessary to support 
one hand with the other, or the good whisky and soda 
would have been spilled abroad. There are fevers and 
fevers. 

But it was worse — much worse — the strained, eye- 
shirking talk at dinner till the servants had withdrawn, 
and worst of aU when Mrs. Jim, who had been on the edge 
of weeping from the soup down, kissed Scott and William, 
and they drank one whole bottle oi champagne, hot, because 
there was no ice, and Scott and William sat outside the 
tent in the starlight tiQ Mrs. Jim drove them in for fear of 
more fever. 

Apropos of these things and some others William said : 
' Being engaged is abominable, because, you see, one has no 
official position. We must be thankful that weVe lots of 
things to do.' 

* Things to do ! * said Jim, when that was reported to him. 
'They're neither of them any good. any more. I can't get 
five hours' work a day out of Scott. He's in the clouds half 
the time.' 

* Oh, but they're so beautiful to watch, Jimmy. It will 
break my heart when they go. Can't you do anything for 
himr 

'I've given the Grovemment the impression — at least, 
I hope I have — that he personally conducted the entire 
famine. But all he wants is to get on to the Luni Canal 
Works, and William's just as bad. Have you ever heard 
'em talking of barrage and aprons and wastewater. It's 
their style of spooning, I suppose.' 

Mrs. Jim smiled tenderly. ' Ah, that's in the intervals — 
bless 'em.' 

And so Love ran about the camp unrebuked in broad 
daylight, while men picked up the pieces and put them 
neatly away of the Famine in the Eight Districts. 



WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR 67 

Morning brought the penetrating chill of the Northern 
December, the layers of wood-smoke, the dusty gray blue 
of the tamarisks, the domes of ruined tombs, and aU the 
smeU of the white Northern plains, as the mail-train ran 
on to the mile-long Sutlej Bridge. William, wrapped in 
a poshteen — silk-embroidered sheepskin jacket trimmed with 
rough astrakhan — looked out with moist eyes and nostrils 
that dilated joyously. The South of pagodas and palm- 
trees, the over-populated Hindu South, was done with. 
Here was the land she knew and loved, and before her 
lay the good life she understood, among folk of her own 
caste and nund. 

They were picking them up at ahnost every station now 
— men and women coming in for the Christmas Week, with 
racquets, with bundles of polo-sticks, with dear and bruised 
cricket-bats, with fox-terriers and saddles. The greater 
part of them wore jackets like William's, for the Northern 
cold is as little to be trifled with as the Northern heat. 
And William was among them and of them, her hands 
deep in her pockets, her collar turned up over her ears, 
stamping her feet on the platforms as she walked up and 
down to get warm, visiting from carriage to carriage, and 
everywhere being congratulated. Scott was with the 
bachelors at the far end of the train, where they chaffed 
him mercilessly about feeding babies and milking goats ; but 
from time to time he would stroll up to WiUiam's window, 
and murmur : ' Grood enough, isn't it ? ' and William would 
answer, with sighs of pure delight : ' Good enough, indeed.' 
The large open names of the home towns were good to 
listen to. Umballa, Ludianah, Phillour, Jullundur, they 
rang like the coming marriage-bells in her ears, and William 
felt deeply and truly sorry for all strangers and outsiders- 
visitors, tourists, and those fresh-caught for the service of 
the country. 

It was a glorious return, and when the bachelors gave 



58 THE KIPLING READER 

the Christmas ball, William was, unofficially, you might 
say, the chief and honoured guest among the stewards, who 
could make things very pleasant for their friends. She and 
Scott danced nearly all the dances together, and sat out the 
rest in the big dark gallery overlooking the superb teak 
floor, where the uniforms blazed, and the spurs clinked, and 
the new frocks and four hundred dancers went round and 
round till the draped flags on the pillars flapped and bellied 
to the whirl of it. 

About midnight half a dozen men who did not care for 
dancing came over from the Club to play 'Waits,' and — 
that was a surprise the stewards had arranged — before any 
one knew what had happened, the band stopped, and hidden 
voices broke into * Good King Wenceslaus,' and William in 
the gallery hummed and beat time with her foot : 

Mark my footsteps well, my page, 

Tread thou in them boldly. 
Thou shalt feel the winter's rage 

Freeze thy blood less coldly ! 

* Oh, I hope they are going to give us another ! Isn't it 
pretty, coming out of the dark in that way ? Look — look 
down. There's Mrs. Gregory wiping her eyes ! * 

* It's Hke home, rather,' said Scott. * I remember — 

* H'sh ! Listen ! — dear.' And it began again : 

When shepherds watched their flocks by night — 

* A-h-h ! ' said William, drawing closer to Scott, 

All seated on the ground, 

The Angel of the Lord came down, 

And glory shone around. 

' Fear not,' said he (for mighty dread 

Ha4 seized their troubled mind) ; 

* Glad tidings of great joy I bring 

To you and all majikind.' 

This time it was William that wiped her eyes. 



WEE WILLIE WINKIE 

AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN 

His fall name was Percival William Williams, but he 
picked up the other name in a nursery-book, and that was 
the end of the christened titles. His mother's ayah called 
him Willie--Ba5a, but as he never paid the faintest attention 
to anything that the ayah said, her wisdom did not help 
matters. 

His father was the Colonel of the 195th, and as soon as 
Wee Willie Winkie was old enough to understand what 
Military Discipline meant, Colonel Williams put him under 
it There was no other way of managing the child. When 
he was good for a week, he drew good-conduct pay ; and 
when he was bad, he was deprived of his good-conduct 
stripe. Generally he was bad, for India offers many 
chances of going wrong to little six-year-olds. 

Children resent familiarity from strangers, and Wee 
Willie Winkie was a very particular child. Once he 
accepted an acquaintance, he was graciously pleased to 
thaw. He accepted Brandis, a subaltern of the 196th, on 
sight. Brandis was having tea at the Colonel's, and Wee 
Willie Winkie entered strong in the possession of a good- 
conduct badge won for not chasing the hens round the 
compound. He regarded Brandis with gravity for at least 
ten minutes, and then delivered himself of his opinion. 



60 THE KIPLING READER 

*I like you,' said he slowly, getting off his chair and 
coming over to Brandis. *I like you. I shall call you 
Coppy, because of your hair. Do you mind being called 
Coppy 1 It is because of ve hair, you know.' 

Here was one of the most embarrassing of Wee Willie 
Winlde's peculiarities. He would look at a stranger for 
some time, and then, without warning or explanation, 
would give him a name. And the name stuck No regi- 
mental penalties could break Wee Willie Winkie of this 
habit. He lost his good-conduct badge for christening the 
Commissioner's wife * Fobs ' ; but nothing that the Colonel 
could do made the Station forego the nickname, and Mrs. 
Collen remained * Fobs ' till the end of her stay. So Brandis 
was christened * Coppy,' and rose, therefore, in the estima- 
tion of the regiment. 

K Wee Willie Winkie took an interest in any one, the 
fortunate man was envied alike by the mess and the rank 
and file. And in their envy lay no suspicion of self-interest. 
* The Colonel's son ' was idolised on his own merits entirely. 
Yet Wee Willie Winkie was not lovely. His face was per- 
manently freckled, as his legs were permanently scratched, 
and in spite of his mother's almost tearful remonstrances he 
had insisted upon having his long yellow locks cut short in 
the military fashion. 'I want my hair like Sergeant Turn- 
mil's,' said Wee Willie Winkie, and, his father abetting, the 
sacrifice was accomplished. 

Three weeks after the bestowal of his youthful affections 
on Lieutenant Brandis — henceforward to be called * Coppy ' 
for the sake of brevity — Wee Willie Winkie was destined 
to behold strange things and far beyond his comprehension. 

Coppy returned his liking with interest Coppy had let 
him wear for five rapturous minutes his own big sword — 
just as tall as Wee Willie Winkie. Coppy had promised 
him a terrier puppy ; and Coppy had permitted him to 
witness the miraculous operation of shaving. Nay, more — 



WEE WILLIE WINKIE 61 

Coppy had said that even he, Wee Willie Winkie, would 
rise in time to the ownership of a box of shiny knives, a 
silver soap-box, and a silver-handled ' sputter-brush,' as Wee 
Willie Winkie called it. Decidedly, there was no one 
except his father, who could give or take away good- 
conduct badges at pleasure, half so wise, strong, and 
valiant as Coppy with the Afghan and Egyptian medals on 
his breast. Why, then, should Coppy be guilty of the 
unmanly weakness of kissing — vehemently kissing — a ' big 
girl,' Miss Allardyce to wit ? In the course of a morning 
ride, Wee Willie Winkie had seen Coppy so doing, and, like 
the gentleman he was, had promptly wheeled round and 
cantered back to his groom, lest the groom should also see. 

Under ordinary circumstances he would have spoken to 
his father, but he felt instinctively that this was a matter 
on which Coppy ought first to be consulted. 

' Coppy,' shouted Woe Willie Winkie, reining up outside 
that subaltern's bungalow early one morning — ' I want to 
see you, Coppy I ' 

* Come in, young 'un,* returned Coppy, who was at early 
breakfast in the midst of his dogs. ' What mischief have 
you been getting into now ? ' 

Wee Willie Winkie had done nothing notoriously bad for 
three days, and so stood on a pinnacle of virtue. 

^ Fm been doing nothing bad,' said he, curling himself 
into a long chair with a studious affectation of the Colonel's 
languor after a hot parade. He buried his freckled nose in 
a tea-cup and, with eyes staring roundly over the rim, 
asked : * I say, Coppy, is it pwoper to kiss big girls ? ' 

* By Jove ! You're beginning early. Who do you want 
to kiss?' 

*No one. My muwer's always kissing me if I don't 
stop her. If it isn't pwoper, how was you kissing Major 
Allardyce's big girl last morning, by ve canal ? ' 

Coppy's brow wrinkled. He and Miss Allardyce had 



62 THE KIPLING READER 

with great craft managed to keep their engagement secret 
for a fortnight. There were urgent and imperative reasons 
why Major Allardyce should not know how matters stood 
for at least another month, and this smaU marplot had 
discovered a great deal too much. 

' I saw you,' said Wee Willie Winkie calmly. * But ve 
sais didn't see. I said, " ffut jao ! " ' 

* Oh, you had that much sense, you young Rip,' groaned 
poor Coppy, half amused and half angry. * And how many 
people may you have told about it ? ' 

* Only me myself. You didn't tell when I twied to wide 
ve buffalo ven my pony was lame ; and I fought you 
wouldn't like.' 

* Winkie,' said Coppy enthusiastically, shaking the small 
hand, 'you're the best of good fellows. Look here, you 
can't understand all these things. One of these days — 
hang it, how can I make you see it ! — I'm going to marry 
Miss Allardyce, and then she'll be Mrs. Coppy, as you say. 
K your young mind is so scandalised at the idea of kissing 
big girls, go and tell your father.' 

'What will happon?' said Wee Willie Winkie, who 
firmly believed that his father was omnipotent. 

*I shall get into trouble,* said Coppy, playing his trump 
card with an appealing look at the holder of the ace. 

*Ven I won't,' said Wee Willie Winkie briefly. 'But 
my faver says it's un-man-ly to be always kissing, and I 
didn't fink you'd do vat, Coppy.' 

'I'm not always kissing, old chap. It's only now and 
then, and when you're bigger you'll do it too. Your father 
meant it's not good for little boys.' 

* Ah ! ' said Wee Willie Winkie, now fully enlightened. 
' It's like ve sputter-brush ? ' 

' Exactly,' said Coppy gravely. 

* But I don't fink I'll ever want to kiss big girls, nor no 
one, 'cept my muvver. And I must vat, you know,' 



WEE WILLIE WINKIE 63 

There was a long pause, broken by Wee Willie Winkie. 

* Are you fond of vis big girl, Coppy?' 

* Awfiilly ! ' said Coppy. 

* Fonder van you are of Bell or ve Butcha — or me? ' 
'It's in a different way,' said Coppy. * You see, one of 

these days Miss Allardyce wiU belong to me, but you'll 
grow up and command the Regiment and — all sorts of 
things. It's quite different, you see.' 

* Very well,' said Wee Willie Winkie, rising. * If you're 
fond of ve big girl, I won't tell any one. I must go now.' 

Coppy rose and escorted his small guest to the door, 
adding — * You're the best of little fellows, Winkie. I tell 
you what. In thirty days from now you can tell if you 
like — ^teU any one you like.' 

Thus the secret of the Brandis-Allardyce engagement 
was dependent on a httle child's word. Coppy, who knew 
Wee Willie Winkie's idea of truth, was at ease, for he felt 
that he would not break promises. Wee Willie Winkie 
betrayed a special and unusual interest in Miss Allardyce, 
and, slowly revolving round that embarrassed young lady, 
was used to regard her gravely with unwinking eye. He 
was trying to discover why Coppy should have kissed her. 
She was not half so nice as his own mother. On the other 
hand, she was Coppy's property, and would in time belong 
to him. Therefore it behoved him to treat her with as 
much respect as Coppy's big sword or shiny pistol. 

The idea that he shared a great secret in common with 
Coppy kept Wee Willie Winkie unusually virtuous for 
three weeks. Then the Old Adam broke out, and he made 
what he called a * camp-fire* at the bottom of the garden. 
How could he have foreseen that the flying sparks would 
have lighted the Colonel's little hay-rick and consumed a 
week's store for the horses? Sudden and swift was the 
punishment — deprivation of the good-conduct badge and, 
most sorrowfiil of all, two days' confinement to barracks — 



64 THE KIPLING READER 

the house and veranda — coupled with the withdrawal of 
the light of his father's countenance. 

He took the sentence like the man he strove to be, drew 
himself up with a quivering under-lip, saluted, and, once 
clear of the room ran, to weep bitterly in his nursery — called 
by him * my quarters.' CJoppy came in the afternoon and 
attempted to console the culprit. 

* I'm under aw west,' said Wee Willie WinMe mournfully, 
• and I didn't ought to speak to you.' 

Very early the next morning he climbed on to the roof of 
the house— that was not forbidden — and beheld Miss 
Allardyce going for a ride. 

* Where are you going 1 ' cried Wee Willie Winkie. 

* Across the river,' she answered, and trotted forward. 
Now the cantonment in which the 19 5th* lay was bounded 

on the north by a river — dry in the winter. From his 
earliest years, Wee Willie Winkie had been forbidden to go 
across the river, and had noted that even Coppy — the 
almost almighty Coppy — had never set foot beyond it. 
Wee Willie Winkie had once been read to, out of a big blue 
book, the history of the Princess and the Goblins — a most 
wonderful tale of a land where the Goblins were always 
warring with the children of men until they were defeated 
by one Curdie. Ever since that date it seemed to him that 
the bare black and purple hills across the river were in- 
habited by Goblins, and, in truth, every one had said that 
there lived the Bad Men. Even in his own house the lower 
halves of the windows were covered with green paper on 
account of the Bad Men who might, if allowed clear view, 
fire into peaceful drawing-rooms and comfortable bedrooms. 
Certainly, beyond the river, which was the end of all the 
Earth, lived the Bad Men. And here was Major Allardyce's 
big girl, Coppy's property, preparing to venture into their 
borders ! What would Coppy say if anything happened to 
her 1 If the Goblins ran off with her as they did with 



WEE WILLIE WINKIE 65 

Curdie's Princess? She must at all hazards be turned 
back. 

The house was still. Wee Willie Winkie reflected for a 
moment on the very terrible wrath of his father ; and then 
— broke his arrest ! It was a crime imspeakable. The low 
sun threw his shadow, very large and very black, on the 
trim garden-paths, as he went down to the stables and 
ordered his pony. It seemed to him in the hush of the 
dawn that all the big world had been bidden to stand still 
and look at Wee WilKe Winkie guilty of mutiny. The 
drowsy sais gave him his mount, and, since the one great 
sin made all others insignificant. Wee Willie Winkie said 
that he was going to ride over to Coppy Sahib, and went 
out at a foot-pace, stepping on the soft mould of the flower- 
borders. 

The devastating track of the pony's feet was the last mis- 
deed that cut him off from all sympathy of Himianity, He 
turned into the road, leaned forward, and rode as fast as the 
pony could put foot to the ground in the direction of the 
river. 

But the liveliest of twelve-two ponies can do little against 
the long canter of a Waler. Miss Allardyce was far ahead, 
had passed through the crops, beyond the Police-posts, when 
aU the guards were asleep, and her mount was scattering 
the pebbles of the river-bed as Wee Willie Winkie left the 
cantonment and British India behind him. Bowed forward 
and still flogging. Wee Willie Winkie shot into Afghan 
territory, and could just see Miss Allardyce a black speck, 
flickering across the stony plain. The reason of her wander- 
ing was simple enough. Coppy, in a tone of too-hastily- 
assumed authority, had told her overnight that she must 
not ride out by the river. And she had gone to prove her 
own spirit and teach Coppy a lesson. 

Almost at the foot of the inhospitable hills. Wee Willie 
Winkie saw the Waler blunder and come down heavily. 
K,R E 



66 THE KIPLING READER 

Miss Allardyce struggled clear, but her ankle had been 
severely twisted, and she could not stand. Having fully 
shown her spirit, she wept, and was surprised by the appar- 
ition of a white, wide-eyed child in khaki, on a nearly spent 
pony. 

'Are you badly, badly hurted ?' shouted Wee Willie 
WinMe, as soon as he was within range. *You didn't 
ought to be here/ 

*I don't know,' said Miss Allardyce ruefully, ignoring 
the reproof. 'Grood gracious, child, what are you doing 
here 1 ' 

'You said you was going acwoss ve wiver,' panted Wee 
Willie Winkie, throwing himself oflf his pony. 'And no- 
body — not even Coppy — must go acwoss ve wiver, and I 
came after you ever so hard, but you wouldn't stop, and 
now you've hurted yourself, and CJoppy will be angwy wiv 
me, and — I've bwoken my awwest ! I've bwoken my 
awwest ! * 

The future Colonel of the 195th sat down and sobbed. 
In spite of the pain in her ankle the giri was moved. 

'Have you ridden all the way from cantonments, little 
man ? What for 1 ' 

'You belonged to Coppy. Coppy told me so!' wailed 
Wee Willie Winkie disconsolately. 'I saw him kissing 
you, and he said he was fonder of you van Bell or ve 
Butcha or me. And so I came. You must get up and 
come back. You didn't ought to be here. Vis is a bad 
place, and I'v^ bwoken my awwest.' 

*I can't move, Winkie,' said Miss Allardyce, with a 
groan. ' I've hurt my foot. What shall I do 1 ' 

She showed a readiness to weep anew, which steadied 
Wee Willie Winkie, who had been brought up to believe 
that tears were the depth of unmanliness. Still, when one 
is as great a sinner as Wee Willie Winlde, even a man may 
be permitted to break down. 



WEE WILLIE WINKIE 67 

«Winkie,' said Miss AUardyce, 'when you've rested a 
lifctle, ride back and tell them to send out something to 
cany me back in. It hurts fearfully.' 

The child sat still for a little time and Miss Allardyce 
closed her eyes; the pain was nearly making her faint. 
She was roused by Wee Willie Winlde tying up the reins 
on his pony's neck and setting it free with a vicious cut of 
his whip that made it whicker. The little animal headed 
towards the cantonments. 

< Oh, Winkie, what are you doing ? ' 

« Hush ! ' said Wee Willie Winkie. * Vere's a man coming 
— one of ve Bad Men. I must stay wiv you. My fever 
says a man must always look after a girl. Jack will go 
home, and ven veyll come and look for us. Vat's why 
I let him go.' 

Not one man but two or three had appeared from behind 
the rocks of the hills, and the heart of Wee Willie Winkie 
sank within him, for just in this manner were the Goblins 
wont to steal out and vex Curdie's soul. Thus had they 
played in Curdie's garden — he had seen the picture — and 
thus had they frightened the Princess's nurse. He heard 
them talking to each other, and recognised with joy the 
bastard Pushto that he had picked up from one of his 
father's grooms lately dismissed. People who spoke that 
tongue could not be the Bad Men. They were only natives 
after all. 

They came up to the boulders on which Miss Allardyce's 
horse had blundered. 

Then rose from the rock Wee Willie Winkie, child of 
the Dominant Race, aged six and three-quarters, and said 
briefly and emphatically 'Jaol' The pony had crossed the 
river-bed. 

The men laughed, and laughter from natives was the one 
thing Wee Willie Winkie could not tolerate. He asked 
them what they wanted and why they did not depart. 



68 THE KIPLING EEADER 

Other men with most evil faces and crooked-stocked guns 
crept out of the shadows of the hills, till, soon, Wee Willie 
Winkie was faxje to face with an audience some twenty 
strong. Miss Allardyce screamed. 

* Who are you ? ' said one of the men. 

* I am the Colonel Sahib's son, and my order is that you 
go at once. You black men are frightening the Miss Sahib. 
One of you must run into cantonments and take the news 
that the Miss Sahib has hurt herself and that the Colonel's 
son is here with her.' 

'Put our feet into the trap?' was the laughing reply. 
' Hear this boy's speech ! ' 

* Say that I sent you — I, the Colonel's son. They will 
give you money.' 

* What is the use of this talk ? Take up the child and 
the girl, and we can at least ask for the ransom. Ours are 
the villages on the heights,' said a voice in the back- 
ground. 

These were the Bad Men — worse than Goblins — and 
it needed all Wee Willie Winkie's training to prevent him 
from bursting into tears. But he felt that to cry before a 
native, excepting only his mother's ayah, would be an infamy 
greater than any mutiny. Moreover, he, as future Colonel 
of the 195bh, had that grim regiment at his back. 

' Are you going to carry us away ? ' said Wee Willie 
Winkie, very blanched and uncomfortable. 

* Yes, my little Sahib Bahadur^^ said the tallest of the men, 
*and eat you afterwards.' 

* That is child's talk,' said Wee Willie Winkie. * Men do 
not eat men.' 

A yell of laughter interrupted him, but he went on firmly 
— * And if you do carry us away, I tell you that all my 
regiment will come up in a day and kill you all without 
leaving one. Who will take my message to the Colonel 
Sahib r 



WEE WILLIE WINKIE 69 

Speech in any vernacular — and Wee Willie Winkie had a 
colloquial acquaintance with three — was easy to the boy 
who could not yet manage his ' r's ' and * th's ' aright. 

Another man joined the conference, crying : * O foolish 
men ! What this babe says is true. He is the heart's heart 
of those white troops. For the sake of peace let them go 
both, for if he be taken, the regiment will break loose and 
gut the valley. Our villages are in the valley, and we shall 
not escape. That regiment are devils. They broke Khoda 
Yar's breastbone with kicks when he tried to take the rifles ; 
and if we ^touch this child they wiU fire and rape and 
plunder for a month, till nothing remains. Better to send 
a man back to take the message and get a reward. I say 
that this child is their Grod, and that they will spare none 
of us, nor our women, if we harm him.' 

It was Din Mahommed, the dismissed groom of the 
Colonel, who made the diversion, and an angry and 
heated discussion followed. Wee Willie Winkie, standing 
over Miss Allardyce, waited the upshot. Surely his * wegi- 
ment,' his own * wegiment,' would not desert him if they 
knew of his extremity. 

***** 

The riderless pony brought the news to the 195th, though 
there had been consternation in the Colonel's household for 
an hour before. The little beast came in through the parade- 
ground in front of the main barracks, where the men were 
settling down to play Spoil-five till the afternoon. Devlin, 
the Colour-Sergeant of E Company, glanced at the empty 
saddle and tumbled through the barrack-rooms, kicking 
up each Eoom Corporal as he passed, * Up, ye beggars ! 
There's something happened to the Colonel's son,' he 
shouted. 

*He couldn't fall off! S'elp me, 'e cmldnH fall off,' blub- 
bered a drummer-boy. * Go an' hunt acrost the river. He's 
over there if he's anywhere, an' maybe those Pathans have 



70 THE KIPLINa READER 

got 'im. For the love o' Grawd don't look for 'im in the 
nullahs ! Let's go over the river.' 

* There's sense in Mott yet,' said Devlin. ' E Company, 
double out to the river — sharp ! ' 

So E Company, in its shirt-sleeves mainly, doubled foi* 
the dear life, and in the rear toiled the perspiring Sergeant, 
adjuring it to double yet faster. The cantonment was alive 
with the men of the 195th hunting for Wee Willie Winkie, 
and the Colonel finally overtook E Company, far too ex- 
hausted to swear, struggling in the pebbles of the river-bed. 

Up the hill under which Wee Willie Winkie's Bad Men 
were discussing the wisdom of carrying off the child and 
the giri, a look-out fired two shots. 

* What have I said 1 ' shouted Din Mahommed. * There 
is the warning ! The ptdton are out already and are coming 
across the plain ! G-et away ! Let us not be seen with the 
boy!' 

The men waited for an instant, and then, as another 
shot was fired, withdrew into the hills, silently as they had 
appeared. 

' The wegiment is coming,' said Wee Willie Winkie con- 
fidently to Miss Allardyce, * and it's all wight. Don't cwy ! ' 

He needed the advice himself, for ten minutes later, when 
his father came up, he was weeping bitteriy with his head 
in Miss Allardyce's lap. 

And the men of the 195th carried him home with shouts 
and rejoicings ; and Coppy, who had ridden a horse into a 
lather, met him, and, to his intense disgust, kissed him 
openly in the presence of the men. 

But there was balm for his dignity. His father assured 
him that not only would the breaking of arrest be condoned, 
but that the good-conduct badge would be restored as soon 
as his mother could sew it on his blouse-sleeve. Miss Allar- 
dyce had told the Colonel a story that made him proud of 
his son. 



WEE WILLIE WTNTKIE 71 

* She belonged to you, Coppy,' said Wee Willie Winkie, 
indicating Miss Allardyce with a grimy forefinger. *I 
Jcneio she didn't ought to go acwoss ve wiver, and I knew 
ve wegiment would come to me if I sent Jack home.' 

* You're a hero, Winkie,' said Coppy — ' a pukka hero 1 ' 

* I don't know what vat means,' said Wee Willie Winkie, 
*but you mustn't call me Winkie any no more. I'm 
Percival Will'am Will'ams.' 

And in this manner did Wee Willie Winkie enter into 
his manhood. 



A MATTER OF FACT. 

And if ye doubt the tale I tell, 
Steer through the South Pacific swell ; 
Gro where the branching coral hives 
Unending strife of endless lives, 
Where, leagued about the 'wildered boat. 
The rainbow jellies fill and float ; 
And, lilting where the laver lingers, 
The starfish trips on all her fingers ; 
Where, 'neath his myriad spines ashock, 
The sea-egg ripples down the rock ; 
An orange wonder dimly guessed. 
From darkness where the cuttles rest, 
Moored o'er the darker deeps that hide 
The blind white Sea-snake and his bride 
Who, drowsing, nose the long-lost ships 
Let down through darkness to their lips. 

The PcUnu. 

Once a priest, always a priest; once a mason, always a 
mason; but once a journalist, always and for ever, a 
journalist. 

There were three of us, all newspaper men, the only 
passengers on a little tramp steamer that ran where her 
owners told her to go. She had once been in the Bilbao 
iron ore business, had been lent to the Spanish Grovem- 
ment for service at Manilla ; and was ending her days in 
the Cape Town coolie-trade, with occasional trips to Mada- 
gascar and even as far as England. We found her going to 

Southampton in ballast, and shipped in her because the 

72 



A MATTEK OF FACT 73 

fares were nominal. There was Keller, of an American 
paper, on his way back to the States from palace executions 
in Madagascar; there was a burly half-Dutchman, called 
Zuyland, who owned and edited a paper up country near 
Johannesburg; and there was myself, who had solemnly 
put away all journalism, vowing to forget that I had ever 
known the difference between an imprint and a stereo 
advertisement. 

Ten minutes after Keller spoke to me, as the Rathmiiies 
cleared Cape Town, I had forgotten the aloofiiess I desired 
to feign, and was in heated discussion on the immorality of 
expanding telegrams beyond a certain fixed point. Then 
Zuyland came out of his cabin, and we were all at home 
instantly, because we were men of the same profession 
needing no introduction. We annexed the boat formally, 
broke open the passengers' bath-room door —on the Manilla 
lines the Dons do not wash — cleaned out the orange-peel 
and cigar-ends at the bottom of the bath, hired a Lascar to 
shave us throughout the voyage, and then asked each 
other's names. 

Three ordinary men would have quarrelled through 
sheer boredom before they reached Southampton. We, 
by virtue of our craft, were anything but ordinary 
men. A large percentage of the tales of the world, the 
thirty-nine that cannot be told to ladies and the one that 
can, are common property coming of a common stock. We 
told them all, as a matter of form, with all their local and 
specific variants which are surprising. Then came, in the 
intervals of steady card-play, more personal histories of 
adventure and things seen and suffered: panics among 
white folk, when the blind terror ran from man to man on 
the Brooklyn Bridge, and the people crushed each other to 
death they knew not why ; fires, and faces that opened and 
shut their mouths horribly at red-hot window frames; 
wrecks in frost and snow, reported from the sleet-sheathed 



74 THE KIPLING READER 

rescue-tug at the risk of frost-bite ; long rides after diamond 
thieves; skirmishes on the veldt and in municipal com- 
mittees with the Boers; glimpses of lazy tangled Cape 
poUtics and the mule-rule in the Transvaal; card-tales, 
horse-tales, woman-tales, by the score and the half hun- 
dred; till the first mate, who had seen more than us all 
put together, but lacked words to clothe his tales with, sat 
open-mouthed far into the dawn. 

When the tales were done we picked up cards till a 
curious hand or a chance remark made one or other of us 
say, 'That reminds me of a man who — or a business 
which — ' and the anecdotes would continue while the 
Bathmines kicked her way northward through the warm 
water. 

In the morning of one specially warm night we three 
were sitting immediately in front of the wheel-house, 
where an old Swedish boatswain whom we called * Frithiof 
the Dane ' was at the wheel, pretending that he could not 
hear our stories. Once or twice Frithiof spun the spokes 
curiously, and Keller lifted his head from a long chair to 
ask, ' What is it 1 Can't you get any steerage-way on 
herr 

* There is a feel in the water,' said Frithiof, *that I 
cannot understand. I think that we run downhills or 
somethings. She steers bad this morning.' 

Nobody seems to know the laws that govern the pulse of 
the big waters. Sometimes even a landsman can tell that 
the solid ocean is atilt, and that the ship is working herself 
up a long unseen slope; and sometimes the captain says, 
when neither full steam nor fair wind justifies the length of 
a day's run, that the ship is sagging downhill; but how 
these ups and downs come about has not yet been settled 
authoritatively. 

'No, it is a following sea,' said Frithiof; *and with a 
following sea you shall not get good steerage-way.' 



A MATTER OF FACT 76 

The sea was as smooth as a duck-pond, except for a 
regular oily swell. As I looked over the side to see where 
it might be following us from, the sun rose in a perfectly 
clear sky and struck the water with its light so sharply 
that it seemed as though the sea should clang like a 
burnished gong. The wake of the screw and the little 
white streak cut by the log-line hanging over the stem were 
the only marks on the water as far as eye could reach. 

Keller rolled out of his chair and went aft to get a pine- 
apple from the ripening stock that was hung inside the 
after awning. 

* Frithio^ the log-line has got tired of swimming. It's 
coming home,' he drawled. 

* What ? ' said Frithiof, his voice jumping several octaves. 

* Coming home,' Keller repeated, leaning over the stem. 
I ran to his side and saw the log-line, which till then had 
been drawn tense over the stem railing, slacken, loop, and 
come up off the port quarter. Frithiof called up the speak- 
ing tube to the bridge, and the bridge answered, 'Yes, 
nine knots.' Then Frithiof spoke again, and the answer 
was, *What do you want of the skipper?' and Frithiof 
bellowed, * Call him up.' 

By this time Zuyland, Keller, and myself had caught 
something of Frithiof 's excitement, for any emotion on 
shipboard is most contagious. The captain ran out of his 
cabin, spoke to Frithiof, looked at the log-line, jumped on 
the bridge, and in a minute we felt the steamer swing 
round as Frithiof turned her. 

* 'Groing back to Cape Town 1 ' said Keller. 

Frithiof did not answer, but tore away at the wheel. 
Then he beckoned us three to help, and we held the wheel 
down till the Bathmmes answered it, and we found our- 
selves looking into the white of our own wake, with the still 
oily sea tearing past our bows, though we were not going 
more than half steam ahead. 



76 THE KIPLING READER 

The captain stretched out his ann from the bridge and 
shouted. A minute later I would have given a great deal 
to have shouted too, for one-half of the sea seemed to 
shoulder itself above the other half, and came on in the 
shape of a hill. There was neither crest, comb, nor curl- 
over to it ; nothing but black water with little waves chas- 
ing each other about the flanks. I saw it stream past and 
on a level with the Bathmines' bow-plates before the 
steamer hove up her bulk to rise, and I argued that this 
would be the last of all earthly voyages for me. Then we 
lifted for ever and ever and ever, till I heard Keller saying 
in my ear, * The bowels of the deep, good Lord ! ' and the 
Bathmines stood poised, her screw-racing and drumming on 
the slope of a hollow that stretched downwards for a good 
half-mile. 

We went down that hoUow, nose under for the most 
part, and the aii* smelt wet and muddy, like that of an 
emptied aquarium. There was a second hill to climb ; I 
saw that much : but the water came aboard and carried me 
aft tiU it jammed me against the wheel-house door, and 
before I could catch breath or clear my eyes again we were 
roUing to and fro in torn water, with the scuppers pouring 
like eaves in a thunderstorm. 

* There were three waves,' said KeUer ; ' and the stoke- 
hold's flooded.' 

The firemen were on deck waiting, apparently, to be 
drowned. The engineer came and dragged them below, 
and the crew, gasping, began to work the clumsy Board of 
Trade pump. That showed nothing serious, and when I 
understood that the Bathmines was really on the water, and 
not beneath it, I asked what had happened. 

'The captain says it was a blow-up under the sea — a 
volcano,' said Keller. 

* It hasn't warmed anything,' I said. I was feeling 
bitterly cold, and cold was almost unknown in those waters. 



A MATTER OF FACT 77 

I went below to change my clothes, and when I came up 
everything was wiped out in clinging white fog. 

* Are there going to be any more surprises ? ' said Keller 
to the captain. 

*I don't know. Be thankful you are alive, gentlemen. 
That's a tidal wave thrown up by a volcano. Probably 
the bottom of the sea has been Kfted a few feet somewhere 
or other. I can't quite understand this cold spell. Our 
sea-thermometer says the surface water is 44°, and it should 
be 68° at least.' 

*It's abominable,' said Keller, shivering. *But hadn't 
you better attend to the fog-horn ? It seems to me that I 
heard something.' 

* Heard ! Grood heavens ! ' said the captain from the 
bridge, *I should think you did.' He pulled the string of 
our fog-horn, which was a weak one. It sputtered and 
choked, because the stoke -hold was full of water and the 
fires were half drowned, and at last gave out a moan. It 
was answered from the fog by one of the most appaUing 
steam sirens I have ever heard. Keller turned as white as 
I did, for the fog, the cold fog, was upon us, and any man 
may be forgiven for fearing a death he cannot see. 

' Give her steam there ! ' said the captain to the engine- 
room. * Steam for the whistle, if we have to go dead 
slow.' 

We bellowed again, and the damp dripped off the awn- 
ings on to the deck as we listened for the reply. It seemed 
to be astern this time, but much nearer than before. 

*The Pembroke Castle onus!' said Keller; and then, 
viciously, * Well, thank God, we shall sink her too.' 

* It's a side-wheel steamer,' I whispered. * Can't you hear 
the paddles 1 ' 

This time we whistled and roared till the steam gave out, 
and the answer nearly deafened us. There was a sound of 
frantic threshing in the water, apparently about fifty yards 



78 THE KIPLING READER 

away, and something shot past in the whiteness that looked 
as though it were gray and red. 

* The Pembroke Castle bottom up,' said Keller, who, being 
a journalist, always sought for explanations. ' That's the 
colours of a Castle liner. We're in for a big thing.' 

* The sea is bewitched,' said Frithiof from the wheel-house. 
* There are iv>o steamers ! ' 

Another siren sounded on our bow, and the little steamer 
rolled in the wash of something that had passed unseen. 

* We're evidently in the middle of a fleet,' said Keller 
quietly. *If one doesn't run us down, the other will 
Phew ! What in creation is that ? ' 

I sniffed, for there was a poisonous rank smell in the cold 
air — a smell that I had smelt before. 

* If I vas on land I should say that it was an alligator. It 
smells like musk,' I answered. 

' Not ten thousand alligators could make that smell/ said 
Zuyland ; * I have smelt them.' 

' Bewitched ! Bewitched ! ' said Frithiof. ' The sea she is 
turned upside down, and we are walking along the bottom.' 

Again the Rathmines rolled in the wash of some unseen 
ship, and a silver-gray wave broke over the bow, leaving on 
the deck a sheet of sediment — the gray broth that has its 
place in the fathomless deeps of the sea. A sprinkling of 
the wave fell on my face, and it was so cold that it stung 
as boiling water stings. The dead and most untouched 
deep water of the sea had been heaved to the top by the 
submarine volcano — the chill still water that kills all life 
and smells of desolation and emptiness. We did not need 
either the blinding fog or that indescribable smell of musk 
to make us unhappy — we were shivering with cold and 
wretchedness where we stood. 

* The hot air on the cold water makes this fog,' said the 
captain ; ' it ought to clear in a little time.' 

* Whistle, oh ! whistle, and let's get out of it,' said Keller 



A MATTER OF FACT 79 

The captain whistled again, and far and far astem the 
invisible twin steam-sirens answered us. Their blasting 
shriek grew louder, till at last it seemed to tear out of the 
fog just above our quarter, and I cowered while the Rath' 
mines plunged bows under on a double swell that crossed. 

* No more,' said Frithiof, ' it is not good any more. Let 
us get away, in the name of Grod.' 

*Now if a torpedo-boat with a City of Paris siren went 
mad and broke her moorings and hired a friend to help her, 
it's just conceivable that we might be carried as we are 
now. Otherwise this thing is ' 

The last words died on Keller's lips, his eyes began to 
start from his head, and his jaw fell. Some six or seven 
feet above the port bulwarks, framed in fog, and as utterly 
unsupported as the ftdl moon, hung a Face. It was not 
human, and it certainly was not animal, for it did not 
belong to this earth as known to man. The mouth was 
open, revealing a ridiculously tiny tongue — as absiuxi as 
the tongue of an elephant; there were tense wrinkles of 
white skin at the angles of the drawn lips, white feelers 
like those of a barbel sprung from the lower jaw, and there 
was no sign of teeth within the mouth. But the horror of 
the face lay in the eyes, for those were sightless — white, in 
sockets as white as scraped bone, and blind. Yet for all 
this the face, wrinkled as the mask of a lion is drawn in 
Assyrian sculpture, was alive with rage and terror. One 
long white feeler touched our bulwarks. Then the face 
disappeared with the swiftness of a blindworm popping 
into its burrow, and the next thing that I remember is my 
own voice in my own ears, saying gravely to the mainmast, 
*But the air-bladder ought to have been forced out of its 
mouth, you know.' 

Keller came up to me, ashy white. He put his hand 
into his pocket, took a cigar, bit it, dropped it, thrust his 
shaking thumb into his mouth and mumbled, ' The giant 



80 THE KIPLING READER 

gooseberry and the raining frogs ! Gimme a light — gimme 
a light! Say, gimme a light.' A little bead of blood 
dropped from his thumb-joint. 

I respected the motive, though the manifestation was 
absurd. 'Stop, you'll bite your thumb off,' I said, and 
Keller laughed brokenly as he picked up his cigar. Only 
Zuyland, leaning over the port bulwarks, seemed self- 
possessed He declared later that he was very sick. 

* We've seen it,' he said, turning round. * That is it.' 

' What 'i ' said Keller, chewing the unlighted cigar. 

As he spoke the fog was blown into shreds, and we saw 
the sea, gray with mud, rolling on every side of us and 
empty of all life. Then in one spot it bubbled and became 
like the pot of ointment that the Bible speaks of From 
that wide-ringed trouble the Thing came up — a gray and 
red Thing with a neck — a Thing that bellowed and writhed 
in pain. Frithiof drew in his breath and held it till the red 
letters of the ship's name, woven across his jersey, straggled 
and opened out as though they had been type badly set. 
Then he said with a little cluck in his throat, ' Ah me ! It 
is blind. Hur ilia ! That thing is blind,' and a murmur of 
pity went through us all, for we could see that the thing on 
the water was blind and in pain. Something had gashed 
and cut the great sides cruelly and the blood was spurting 
out. The gray ooze of the undermost sea lay in the mon- 
strous wrinkles of the back, and poured away in sluices. 
The blind white head flung back and battered the wounds, 
and the body in its torment rose clear of the red and gray 
waves till we saw a pair of quivering shoulders streaked 
with weed and rough with shells, but as white in the clear 
spaces as the hairless, maneless, blind, toothless head. 
Afterwards, came a dot on the horizon and the sound of a 
shrill scream, and it was as though a shuttle shot all across 
the sea in one breath, and a second head and neck tore 
through the levels, driving a whispering wall of water to 



A MATTER OF FACT 81 

right and left. / The two Things met— the one untouched 
and the other in its death-throe — male and female, we said, 
the female coming to the male. She circled round him 
bellowing, and laid her neck across the curve of his great 
turtle-back, and he disappeared under water for an instant, 
but flung up again, grunting in agony while the blood ran. 
Once the entire head and neck shot clear of the water and 
stiflfened, and I heard Keller saying, as though he was 
watching a street accident, * Give him air. For God's sake, 
give him air.' Then the death-struggle began, with cramp- 
ings and twistings and jerkings of the white bulk to and 
fro, till our little steamer rolled again, and each gray wave 
coated her plates with the gray slime. The sun was clear, 
there was no wind, and we watched, the whole crew, 
stokers and all, in wonder and pity, but chiefly pity. The 
Thing was so helpless, and, save for his mate, so alone. 
No human eye should have beheld him ; it was monstrous 
and indecent to exhibit him there in trade waters between 
atlas degrees of latitude. He had been spewed up, mangled 
and dying, from his rest on the sea-floor, where he might 
have lived till the Judgment Day, and we saw the tides of 
his life go from him as an angry tide goes out across rocks 
in the teeth of a landward gale. His mate lay rocking on 
the water a little distance off, bellowing continually, and 
the smell of musk came down upon the ship making us 
cough. ^. 

At last the battle for life ended in a batter of coloured 
seas. We saw the writhing neck fall like a flail, the carcase 
turn sideways, showing the glint of a white belly and the 
inset of a gigantic hind leg or flipper. Then all sank, and 
sea boiled over it, while the mate swam round and round, 
darting her head in every direction. Though we might 
have feared that she would attack the steamer, no power 
on earth could have drawn any one of us from our places 
that hour. We watched, holding our breaths. The mate 
K.B. F 



82 THE KIPLING READER 

paused in her search; we could hear the wash beating 
along her sides ; reared her neck as high as she could reach, 
blind and lonely in all that loneliness of the sea, and sent 
one desperate bellow booming across the swells as an 
oyster shell skips across a pond. Then she made off to the 
westward, the sun shining on the white head and the wake 
behind it, till nothing was left to see but a Httle pin point 
of silver on the horizon. We stood on our course again ; 
and the Bathmines, coated with the searsediment from bow 
to stern, looked like a ship made gray with terror. 

' We must pool our notes,' was the first coherent remark 
from Keller. * We're three trained journalists — we hold 
absolutely the biggest scoop on record. Start feir.' 

I objected to this. Nothing is gained by collaboration 
in journalism when all deal with the same facts, so we 
went to work each according to his own lights. Keller 
triple-headed his account, talked about our * gallant captain,' 
and wound up with an allusion to American enterprise in 
that it was a citizen of Dayton, Ohio, that had seen the 
searserpent. This sort of thing would have discredited the 
Creation, much more a mere sea tale, but as a specimen of 
the picture-writing of a haJf-civiKsed people it was very 
interesting. Zuyland took a heavy column and a hal^ 
giving approximate lengths and breadths, and the whole 
list of the crew whom he had sworn on oath to testify to 
his facts. There was nothing fantastic or flamboyant in 
Zuyland. I wrote three-quarters of a leaded bourgeois 
column, roughly speaking, and refrained from putting any 
journalese into it for reasons that had begun to appear to 
me. 

Keller was insolent with joy. He was going to cable 
from Southampton to the New York World, mail his 
account to America on the same day, paralyse London 
with his three columns of loosely knitted headlines, and 



A MATTER OF FACT 83 

generally efface the earth. ' You'll see how I work a big 
scoop when I get it,' he said. 

' la this your first visit to England ? ' I asked. 

* Yes/ said he. * You don't seem to appreciate the beauty 
of our scoop. It's pyramidal — the death of the sea-serpent ! 
Good heavens alive, man, it's the biggest thing ever vouch- 
safed to a paper ! ' 

* Curious to think that it will never appear in any paper, 
isn't it n said. 

Zuyland was near me, and he nodded quickly. 

* What do you mean ? ' said Keller. ' If you're enough 
of a Britisher to throw this thing away, I shan't. I 
thought you were a newspaper-man.' 

*Iam. That's why I know. Don't be an ass, Keller. 
Remember, I'm seven hundred years your senior, and what 
your grandchildren may learn five hundred years hence, I 
learned from my grandfathers about five hundred years 
ago. You won't do it, because you can't.' 

This conversation was held in open sea, where every- 
thing seems possible, some hundred miles from South- 
ampton. We passed the Needles Light at dawn, and the 
lifting day showed the stucco villas on the green and the 
awful orderliness of England — line upon line, wall upon 
wall, solid stone dock and monolithic pier. We waited an 
hour in the Customs shed, and there was ample time for the 
effect to soak in. 

•Now, Keller, you fcice the music. The Havel goes out 
to-day. Mail by her, and I'll take you to the telegraph- 
office,' I said. 

I heard Keller gasp as the influence of the land closed 
about him, cowing him as they say Newmarket Heath cows 
a young horse unused to open courses. 

*I want to retouch my stuff. Suppose we wait till we 
get to London ? ' he said. 

Zuyland, by the way, had torn up his aocoimt and 



84 THE KIPLING EEADER 

thrown it overboard that morning early. His reasons 
were my reasons. 

In the train KeUer began to revise his copy, and every 
time that he looked at the trim little fields, the red villas, 
and the embankments of the line, the blue pencil plunged 
remorselessly through the slips. He appeared to have 
dredged the dictionary for adjectives. I could think of 
none that he had not used. Yet he was a perfectly sound 
poker-player and never showed more cards than were 
suflficient to take the pool. 

* Aren't you going to leave him a single beUow ? ' I asked 
sympathetically. 'Remember, everything goes in the 
States, from a trouser-button to a double-eagle.' 

' That's just the curse of it,' said Keller below his breath. 
' We've played 'em for suckers so often that when it comes 
to the golden truth — I'd like to try this on a London paper. 
You have first call there, though.' 

*Not in the least. I'm not touching the thing in our 
papers. I shall be happy to leave 'em all to you; but 
surely you'll cable it home 1 ' 

*No. Not if I can make the scoop here and see the 
Britishers sit up.' 

' You won't do it with three columns of slushy headline, 
believe me. They don't sit up as quickly as some people.' 

*rm beginning to think that too. Does nothing make 
any difference in this country 1 ' he said, looking out of the 
window. ' How old is that farmhouse ? ' 

* New. It can't be more than two hundred years at the 
most.' 

'Um. Fields, too?" 

'That hedge there must have been clipped for about 
eighty years.' 

* Labour cheap — eh ? ' 

'Pretty much. Well, I suppose you'd like to try the 
T*meSf wouldn't you t ' 



A MATTER OF FACT 85 

'No,' said Keller, looking at Winchester Cathedral 
* 'Might as well try to electrify a haystack. And to think 
that the World would take three columns and ask for more 
— with illustrations too ! It's sickening.' 

' But the Times might,' I began. 

Keller flung his paper across the carriage, and it opened 
in its austere majesty of solid type — opened with the 
crackle of an encyclopaedia. 

' Might ! You might work your way through the bow- 
plates of a cruiser. Look at that first page ! ' 

* It strikes you that way, does itV I said. ' Then I'd 
recommend you to try a light and frivolous journal.' 

* With a thing like this of mine — of ours ? It's sacred 
history ! ' 

I showed him a paper which I conceived would be 
after his own heart, in that it was modelled on American 
lines. 

'That's homey,' he said, 'but it's not the real thing. 
Now, I should like one of these fet old Times columns. 
Probably there'd be a bishop in the office, though.' 

When we reached London KeUer disappeared in the 
direction of the Strand. What his experiences may have 
been I cannot tell, but it seems that he invaded the office 
of an evening paper at 11.45 a.mL. (I told him English 
editors were most idle at that hour), and mentioned my 
name as that of a witness to the truth of his story. 

* I was nearly fired out,' he said ftiriously at lunch. * As 
soon as I mentioned you, the old man said that I was to 
teU you that they didn't want any more of your practical 
jokes, and that you knew the hours to call if you had any- 
thing to sell, and that they'd see you condemned before 
they helped to puff one of your infernal yams in advance. 
Say, what record do you hold for truth in this country, 
anyway 1 ' 

* A beauty. You ran up against it, that's all. Why 



86 THE KIPLING READER 

don't you leave the English papers alone and cable to New 
York ? Everything goes over there.' 

' Can't you see that's just why 1 ' he repeated. 

* I saw it a long time ago. You don't intend to cable 
then?' 

*Yes, I do,' he answered, in the over-emphatic voice of 
one who does not know his own mind. 

That afternoon I walked him abroad and about, over the 
streets that run between the pavements like channels of 
grooved and tongued lava, over the bridges that are made 
of enduring stone, through subways floored and sided with 
yard-thick concrete, between houses that are never rebuilt, 
and by river steps hewn, to the eye, from the living rock. 
A black fog chased us into Westminster Abbey, and, stand- 
ing there in the darkness, I could hear the wings of the 
dead centuries circling round the head of Litchfield A. 
Keller, journalist, of Dayton, Ohio, U.S.A., whose mission 
it was to make the Britishers sit up. 

He stumbled gasping into the thick gloom, and the roar 
of the traffic came to his bewildered ears. 

'Let's go to the telegraph-office and cable,' I said. 
* Can't you hear the New York World crying for news of 
the great sea-serpent, bHnd, white, and smelling of musk, 
stricken to death by a submarine volcano, and assisted by 
his loving wife to die in mid-ocean, as visualised by an 
American citizen, the breezy, newsy, brainy newspaper man 
of Dayton, Ohio? 'Rah for the Buckeye State. Step 
lively ! Both gates ! Szz ! Boom ! Aah ! ' Keller was a 
Princeton man, and he seemed to need encouragement. 

* You've got me on your own ground,' said he, tugging 
at his overcoat pocket. He pulled out his copy, with the 
cable forms — for he had written out his telegram — and put 
them all into my hand, groaning, ' I pass. K I hadn't come 
to your cursed country — K I'd sent it off at Southampton 
— If I ever get you west of the Alleghannies, if ' 



A MATTER OF FACT 87 

* Never mind, Keller. It isn't your fault. It's the fault 
of your country. If you had been seven hundred years 
older you'd have done what I am going to do.' 

* What are you going to do ? ' 
*Tellitasalie.' 

* Fiction r This with the full-blooded disgust of a 
journalist for the illegitimate branch of the profession. 

' You can call it that if you like. I shall call it a lie.' 

And a lie it has become ; for Truth is a naked lady, and 

if by accident she is drawn up from the bottom of the sea, 

it behoves a gentleman either to give her a print petticoat 

or to turn his face to the wall and vow that he did not see. 



MOWGLl'S BROTHERS 

Now Chil the Kite brings home the night 

That Mang the Bat sets free — 
The herds are shut in byre and hut 

For loosed till dawn are we. 
This is the hour of pride and power. 

Talon and tush and claw. 
Oh hear the call ! — Good hunting all 

That keep the Jungle Law ! 

Night-Song in the Jungle. 

It was seven o'clock of a very warm evening in the 
Seeonee hills when Father Wolf woke up from his day's 
rest, scratched himself, yawned, and spread out his paws 
one after the other to get rid of the sleepy feeling in their 
tips. Mother Wolf lay with her big gray nose dropped 
across her four tumbling, squealing cubs, and the moon 
shone into the mouth of the cave where they all lived. 
* Augrh ! ' said Father Wolf, ' it is time to hunt again ' ; 
and he was going to spring down hill when a little shadow 
with a bushy tail crossed the threshold and whined : * Good 
luck go with you, O Chief of the Wolves ; and good luck 
and strong white teeth go with the noble children, that 
they may never forget the hungry in this worid.' 

It WM the jackal — Tabaqui, the Dish-licker — and the 
wolves of India despise Tabaqui because he runs about 
making mischief, and telling tales, and eating rags and 
pieces of leather from the village rubbish-heaps. But they 



MOWGLI'S BROTHERS 89 

are afraid of him too, because Tabaqui, more than any one 
else in the jungle, is apt to go mad, ami then he forgets 
that he was ever airaid of any one, and runs through the 
forest biting everything in his way. Even the tiger runs 
and hides when little Tabaqui goes mad, for madness is the 
most disgraceful thing that can overtake a wild creature. 
We call it hydrophobia, but they call it dewariee — the 
madness — and run. 

'Enter, then, and look,' said Father Wolf, stiffly; 'but 
there is no food here.' 

'For a wolf, no,' said Tabaqui; 'but for so mean a 
person as myself a dry bone is a good feast. Who are we, 
the Gidur-log [the jackal people], to pick and choose "J ' 
He scuttled to the back of the cave, where he found the 
bone of a buck with some meat on it, and sat cracking the 
end merrily. 

'All thanks for this good meal,' he said, licking his lips. 
' How beautiful are the noble children ! How large are 
their eyes ! And so young too ! Indeed, indeed, I might 
have remembered that the children of kings are men from 
the beginning.' 

Now, Tabaqui knew as well as any one else that there is 
nothing so unlucky as to compKment children to their 
faces ; and it pleased him to see Mother and Father Wolf 
look uncomfortable. 

Tabaqui sat still, rejoicing in the mischief that he had 
made, and then he said spitefully : 

'Shere Khan, the Big One, has shifted his hunting- 
grounds. He will hunt among these hills for the next 
moon, so he has told me.' 

Shere Khan was the tiger who lived near the Waingunga 
River, twenty miles away. 

' He has no right ! ' Father Wolf began angrily — ' By the 
Law of the Jungle he has no right to change his quarters 
without due warning. He will frighten every head of 



90 THE KIPLING READER 

game within ten miles, and I — I have to kill for two, these 
days.' 

' His mother did not call him Lungri [the Lame One] for 
nothing,' said Mother Wolf, quietly. He has been lame in 
one foot jfrom his birth. That is why he has only killed 
cattle. Now the villagers of the Waingunga are angry 
with him, and he has come here to make our villagers 
angry. They will scour the jungle for him when he is far 
away, and we and our children must run when the grass is 
set alight. Indeed, we are very grateful to Shere Khan ! * 

* Shall I tell him of your gratitude ? ' said Tabaqui. 

* Out ! ' snapped Father Wolf. ' Out and hunt with thy 
master. Thou heist done hann enough for one night.' 

* I go,' said Tabaqui, quietly. * Ye can hear Shere Khan 
below in the thickets. I might have saved myself the 
message.' 

Father Wolf listened, and below in the vaUey that ran 
down to a little river, he heard the dry, angry, snarly, 
singsong whine of a tiger who has caught nothing and does 
not care if all the jungle knows it. 

' The fool ! ' said Father Wolf. * To begin a night's work 
with that noise. Does he think that our buck are like his 
fat Waingunga bullocks ? ' 

* H'sh. It is neither bullock nor buck he hunts to-night,' 
said Mother Wolf. *It is Man.' The whine had changed 
to a sort of humming purr that seemed to come from every 
quarter of the compass. It was the noise that bewilders 
woodcutters and gipsies sleeping in the open, and makes 
them run sometimes into the very mouth of the tiger. 

* Man ! ' said Father Wolf, showing all his white teeth. 
* Faugh 1 Are there not enough beetles and frogs in the 
tanks that he must eat Man, and on our ground too ! ' 

The Law of the Jungle, which never orders anything 
without a reason, forbids every beast to eat Man except 
when he is killing to show his children how to kill, and 



MOWGLFS BROTHERS 91 

then he must hunt outside the hunting-grounds of his pack 
or tribe. The real reason for this is that man-killing means, 
sooner or later, the arrival of white men on elephants, with 
guns, and hundreds of brown men with gongs and rockets 
and torches. Then everybody in the jungle suffers. The 
reason the beasts give among themselves is that Man is the 
weakest and most defenceless of all living things, and it is 
unsportsmanlike to touch him. They say too — and it is 
true — that man-eaters become mangy, and lose their teeth. 

The purr grew louder, and ended in the full-throated 
* Aaarh ! * of the tiger's charge. 

Then there was a howl — an untigerish howl — jfrom Shere 
Khan. * He has missed,' said Mother Wolf. * What is it ? ' 

Father Wolf ran out a few paces and heard Shere Khan 
muttering and mumbling savagely, as he tumbled about in 
the scrub. 

* The fool has had no more sense than to jump at a wood- 
cutters' camp-fire, and has burned his feet,' said Father 
Wol^ with a grunt. ' Tabaqui is with him.' 

* Something is coming up hiU,' said Mother Wolf, twitch- 
ing one ear. * Gret ready.' 

The bushes rustled a little in the thicket, and Father 
Wolf dropped with his haunches under him, ready for his 
leap. Then, if you had been watching, you would have 
seen the most wonderful thing in the world — the wolf 
checked in mid-spring. He made his bound before he saw 
what it was he was jumping at, and then he tried to stop 
himself. The result was that he shot up straight into the 
air for four or five feet, landing almost where he left ground. 

* Man ! ' he snapped. ' A man's cub. Look ! ' 
Directly in front of him, holding on by a low branch, 

stood a naked brown baby who could just walk — as soft 
and as dimpled a little atom as ever came to a wolfs cave 
at night. He looked up into Father Wolf's face, and 
laughed. 



92 THE KIPLING READER 

' Is that a man's cub 1 ' said Mother Wolf. * I have 
never seen one. Bring it here.' 

A wolf accustomed to moving his own cubs can, if neces- 
sary, mouth an egg without breaking it, and though Father 
Wolfs jaws closed right on the child's back not a tooth 
even scratched the skin, as he laid it down among the 
cubs. 

* How little ! How naked, and — how bold ! ' said Mother 
Wolf, softly. The baby was pushing his way between the 
cubs to get close to the warm hide. ' Ahai ! He is taking 
his meal with the others. And so this is a man's cub. Now, 
was there ever a wolf that could boast of a man's cub among 
her children ? ' 

* I have heard now and again of such a thing, but never 
in our Pack or in my time,' said Father Wolf. *He is 
altogether without hair, and I could kill him with a touch 
of my foot. But see, he looks up and is not afraid.' 

The moonlight was blocked out of the mouth of the cave, 
for Shere Khan's great square head and shoulders were 
thrust into the entrance. Tabaqui, behind him, was squeak- 
ing : * My lord, my lord, it went in here ! ' 

'Shere Khan does us great honour,' said Father Wolf, 
but his eyes were very angry. 'What does Shere Khan 
need?' 

'My quarry. A man's cub went this way,' said Shere 
Khan. ' Its parents have run off. Grive it to me.' 

Shere Khan had jumped at a woodcutters' camp-fire, as 
Father Wolf had said, and was furious from the pain of his 
burned feet. But Father Wolf knew that the mouth of 
the cave was too narrow for a tiger to come in by. Even 
where he was, Shere Khan's shoulders and fore paws were 
cramped for want of room, as a man's would be if he tried 
to fight in a barrel. 

' "The Wolves are a free people,' said Father Wolf. ' They 
take orders from the Head of the Pack, and not from any 



MOWGLI'S BEOTHERS 93 

striped cattle-dealer. The man's cub is ours — to kill if we 
choose.' 

* Ye choose and ye do not choose ! What talk is this of 
choosing 1 By the bull that I killed, am I to stand nosing 
into your dog's den for my fair dues ? It is I, Shere Khan, 
who speak ! ' 

The tiger's roar filled the cave with thunder. Mother 
Wolf shook herself clear of the cubs and sprang forward, 
her eyes, like two green moons in the darkness, facing the 
blazing eyes of Shere Khan. 

'And it is I, Raksha [The Demon], who answer. The 
man's cub is mine, Lungri — mine to me ! He shall not be 
killed. He shall live to run with the Pack and to hunt 
with the Pack ; and in the end, look you, hunter of little 
naked cubs — ^frog-eater — fish-killer — he shall hunt theel 
Now get hence, or by the Sambhur that I killed (/ eat no 
starved cattle), back thou goest to thy mother, burned 
beast of the jungle, lamer than ever thou camest into the 
world ! Go ! ' 

Father Wolf looked on amazed. He had almost forgotten 
the days when he had won Mother Wolf in fair fight from 
five other wolves, when she ran in the Pack and was not 
called The Demcm for compliment's sake. Shere Khan 
might have faced Father Wolf, but he could not stand up 
against Mother Wolf, for he knew that where he was she 
had all the advantage of the ground, and would fight to the 
death. So he backed out of the cave-mouth growling, and 
when he was clear he shouted : — 

* Each dog barks in his own yard ! We will see what the 
Pack will say to this fostering of man-cubs. The cub is 
mine, and to my teeth he will come in the end, bush- 
tailed thieves ! ' 

Mother Wolf threw herself down panting among the cubs, 
and Father Wolf said to her gravely :— 

'Shere Khan speaks this much truth. The cub must 



94 THE KIPLING READER 

be shown to the Ptick. Wilt thou stiU keep him, 
Mother 1 ' 

' Keep him ! ' she gasped. * He came naked, by night, 
alone and very hungry ; yet he was not afi^d ! Look, he 
has pushed one of my babes to one side already. And that 
lame butcher would have killed him and would have run 
off to the Waingunga while the villagers here hunted 
through all onr lairs in revenge ! Keep him ? Assuredly 
I will keep him. Lie still, little frog. thou MowgH — 
for Mowgli the Frog I will call thee — the time will come 
when thou wilt hunt Shere Klian as he has hunted thee.* 

* But what will our Pack say 1 ' said Father Wolf. 

The Law of the Jungle lays down very clearly that any 
wolf may, when he marries, withdraw from the Pack he 
belongs to ; but as soon as his cubs are old enough to stand 
on their feet he must bring them to the Pack Council, 
which is generally held once a month at fiill moon, in orddr 
that the other wolves may identify them. After that 
inspection the cubs are free to run where they please, and 
until they have killed their first buck no excuse is accepted 
if a grown wolf of the Pack kills one of them. The 
punishment is death where the murderer can be found ; and 
if you think for a minute you will see that this must be so. 

Father Wolf waited till his cubs could run a little, and 
then on the night of the Pack Meeting took them and 
Mowgli and Mother Wolf to the Council Rock— a hilltop 
covered with stones and boulders where a hundred wolves 
could hide. Akela, the great gray Lone Wol:^ who led all 
the Pack by strength and cunning, lay out at full length on 
his rock, and below him sat forty or more wolves of every 
size and colour, from badger-coloured veterans who could 
handle a buck alone, to young black three-year-olds who 
thought they could. The Lone Wolf had led them for a 
year now. He had fallen twice into "a wolf-trap in his 
youth, and once he had been beaten and left for dead ; so 



MOWGLI'S BROTHERS 95 

he knew tbe manners and customs of men. There was very 
little talking at the rock. The cubs tumbled over each 
other in the centre of the circle where their mothers and 
fathers sat, and now and again a senior wolf would go 
quietly up to a cub, look at him carefully, and return to his 
place on noiseless feet. Sometimes a mother would push 
her cub far out into the moonlight, to be sure that he had 
not been overlooked. Akela from his rock would cry : * Ye 
know the Law — ye know the Law. Look well, O Wolves ! ' 
and the anxious mothers wonld take up the csJl : * Look — 
look well, O Wolves ! ' 

At last — and Mother Wolfs neck-bristles lifted as the 
time came — ^Father Wolf pushed *Mowgli the Frog,' as 
they called him, into the centre, where he sat laughing and 
playing with some pebbles that glistened in the moonlight. 

Akela never raised his head from his paws, but went on 
with the monotonous cry : * Look well ! ' A muffled roar 
came up from behind the rocks — ^the voice of Shere Khan 
crying : * The cub is mine. Give him to me. What have 
the Free People to do with a man's cub ? ' Akela never 
even twitched his ears: all he said was: *Look well, O 
Wolves ! What have the Free People to do with the orders 
of any save the Free People ? Look well ! ' 

There was a chorus of deep growls, and a young wolf in 
his fourth year flung back Shere Khan's question to Akela : 
*What have the Free People to do with a mau's cub?' 
Now the Law of the Jungle lays down that if there is any 
dispute as to the right of a cub to be accepted by the Pack, 
he must be spoken for by at least two members of the Pack 
who are not his father and mother. 

*Who speaks for this cub?' said Akela. * Among the 
Free People who speaks?' There was no answer, and 
Mother Wolf got ready for what she knew would be her 
last fight, if things came to fighting. 

Then the only other creature who is allowed at the Pack 



96 THE KIPLINa KEADER 

Council— Baloo, the sleepy brown bear who teaches the 
wolf cubs the Law of the Jungle : old Baloo, who can come 
and go where he pleases because he eats only nuts and 
roots and honey — rose up on his hind quarters and grunted. 

* The man's cub — the man's cub 1 ' he said. * / speak for 
the man's cub. There is no harm in a man's cub. I have 
no gift of words, but I speak the truth. Let him run with 
the Pack, and be entered with the others. I myself will 
teach him.' 

' We need yet another,' said Akela. * Baloo has spoken, 
and he is our teacher for the young cubs. Who speaks 
beside Baloo ? ' 

A black shadow dropped down into the circle. It was 
Bagheera the Black Panther, inky black all over, but with 
the panther markings showing up in certain lights like the 
pattern of watered silk. Everybody knew Bagheera, and 
nobody cared to cross his path ; for he was as cunning as 
Tabaqui, as bold as the wild buffalo, and as reckless as the 
wounded elephant. But he had a voice as soft as wild 
honey dripping from a tree, and a skin softer than down. 

'0 Akela, and ye the Free People,' he purred, *I have 
no right in your assembly ; but the Law of the Jungle says 
that if there is a doubt which is not a killing matter in 
regard to a new cub, the life of that cub may be bought at 
a price. And the Law does not say who may or may not 
pay that price. Am I right ? ' 

' Grood ! good ! ' said the young wolves, who are always 
hungry. ' Listen to Bagherra. The cub can be bought for 
a price. It is the Law.' 

' Knowing that I have no right to speak here, I ask your 
leave.' 

' Speak then,' cried twenty voices. 

* To kill a naked cub is shame. Besides, he may make 
better sport for you when he is grown. Baloo has spoken 
in his behalf. Now to Baloo's word I will add one bull, 



MOWGLI'S BROTHERS 97 

and a fat one, newly killed, not half a mile from here, if ye 
will accept the man's cub according to the Law. Is it 
difficult r 

There was a clamour of scores of voices, saying : * What 
matter ? He will die in the winter rains. He will scorch 
in the sun. What harm can a naked frog do us ? Let him 
run with the Pack. Where is the bull, Bagheera? Let 
him be accepted,' And then came Akela's deep bay, cry- 
ing : Look well — look well, Wolves ! ' 

Mowgli was still deeply interested in the pebbles, and he 
did not notice when the wolves came and looked at liim one 
by one. At last they all went down the hill for the dead 
bull, and only Akela, Bagheera, Baloo, and MowgU's own 
wolves were left. Shere Elian roared still in the night, for 
he was very angry that Mowgli had not been handed over to 
him. 

* Ay, roar well,' said Bagheera, under his whiskers ; * for 
the time comes when this naked thing will make thee roar 
to another tune, or I know nothing of man.* 

* It was well done,' said Akela. * Men and their cubs are 
very wise. He may be a help in time.' 

* Truly, a help in time of need ; for none can hope to lead 
the Pack for ever,' said Bagheera. 

Akela said nothing He was thinking of the time that 
comes to every leader of every pack when his strength goes 
from him and he gets feebler and feebler, till at last he is 
killed by the wolves and a new leader comes up — to be 
killed in his turn. 

*Take him away,' he said to Father Wolf, *and train him 
as befits one of the Free People.' 

And that is how Mowgli was entered into the Seeonee 
wolf-pack for the price of a buU and on Baloo's good word. 
***** 

Now you must be content to skip ten or eleven whole 
years, and only guess at all the wonderful life Mowgli led 
K.R ^ 



98 THE KIPLING READER 

among the wolves, because if it were written out it would fill 
ever so many books. He grew up with the cubs, though 
they, of course, were grown wolves almost before he was a 
child, and Father Wolf taught him his business, and the 
meaning of things in the jungle, till every rustle in the 
grass, every breath of the warm night air, every note of the 
owls above his head, every scratch of a bat's claws as it 
roosted for a while in a tree, and every splash of every little 
fish jumping in a pool, meant just as much to him as the 
work of his ofiice means to a business man. When he was 
not learning he sat out in the sun and slept, and ate and 
went to sleep again ; when he felt dirty or hot he swam in 
the forest pools ; and when he wanted honey (Baloo told him 
that honey and nuts were just as pleasant to eat as raw 
meat) he climbed up for it, and that Bagheera showed him 
how to do. Bagheera would lie out on a branch and call, 
'Come along, Little Brother,' and at first Mowgli would 
cling like the sloth, but afterward he would fling himself 
through the branches almost as boldly as the gray ape. He 
took his place at the Council Rock, too, when the Pack met, 
and there he discovered that if he stared hard at any wolf, 
the wolf would be forced to drop his eyes, and so he used to 
stare for fun. At other times he would pick the long 
thorns out of the pads of his friends, for wolves suffer 
terribly from thorns and burs in their coats. He would go 
down the hillside into the cultivated lands by night, and 
look very curiously at the villagers in their huts, but he had 
a mistrust of men because Bagheera showed him a square 
box with a drop-gate so cunningly hidden in the jungle that 
he nearly walked into it, and told him that it was a trap. 
He loved better than anything else to go with Bagheera into 
the dark warm heart of the forest, to sleep all through the 
drowsy day, and at night see how Bagheera did his Mlling. 
Bagheera killed right and left as he felt hungry, and so did 
Mowgli — with one exception. As soon as he was old 



MOWGLPS BROTHERS 99 

enough to understand things, Bagheera told him that he 
must never touch cattle because he had been bought into 
the Pack at the price of a bull's life. ' All the jungle is 
thine,' said Bagherra, * and thou canst kill everything that 
thou art strong enough to kill ; but for the sake of the bull 
that bought thee thou must never kill or eat any cattle 
young or old. That is the Law of the Jungle.' Mowgli 
obeyed faithfully. 

And he grew and grew strong as a boy must grow who 
does not know that he is learning any lessons, and who has 
nothing in the world to think of except things to eat. 

Mother Wolf told him once or twice that Shere Khan 
was not a creature to be trusted, and that some day he must 
Mil Shere Khan ; but though a young wolf would have 
remembered that advice every hour, Mowgli forgot it 
because he was only a boy — though he would have called 
himself a wolf if he had been able to speak in any human 
tongue. 

Shere Khan was always crossing his path in the jungle, 
for as Akela grew older and feebler the lame tiger had 
come to be great friends with the younger wolves of the 
Pack, who followed him for scraps, a thing Akela would 
never have allowed if he had dared to push his authority to 
the proper bounds. Then Shere Khan would flatter them 
and wonder that such fine young hunters were content to be 
led by a dying wolf and a man's cub * They tell me,' Shere 
Khan would say, 'that at Council ye dare not look him 
between the eyes ' ; and the young wolves would growl and 
bristle. 

Bagheera, who had eyes and ears everywhere, knew 
something of this, and once or twice he told Mowgli in so 
many words that Shere Khan would kill him some day ; 
and Mowgli would laugh and answer : * I have the Pack and 
I have thee ; and Baloo, though he is so lazy, might strike 
a blow or two for my sake. Why should I be afraid 1 ' 



100 THE KIPLING READER 

It was one very warm day that a new notion came to 
Bagheera— born of something that he had heard. Perhaps 
Sahi the Porcupine had told him ; but he said to Mowgli 
when they were deep in the jungle, as the boy lay with his 
head on Bagheera's beautiful black skin : * Little Brother,' 
how often have I told thee that Shere Khan is thy 
enemy ? ' 

*As many times as there are nuts on that palm,' said 
Mowgli, who, naturally, could not count. * What of it ? I 
am sleepy, Bagheera, and Shere Khan is all long tail and 
loud talk — like Mor the Peacock.' 

*But this is no time for sleeping. Baloo knows it; I 
know it ; the Pack know it ; and even the foolish, foolish 
deer know. Tabaqui has told thee, too.* 

' Ho ! ho ! ' said Mowgli. ' Tabaqui came to me not 
long ago with some rude talk that I was a naked man's 
cub and not fit to dig pig-nuts ; but I caught Tabaqui by 
the tail and swung him twice against a palm-tree to teach 
him better manners.' 

* That was foolishness ; for though Tabaqui is a mischief- 
maker, he would have told thee of something that con- 
cerned thee closely. Open those eyes, Little Brother. 
Shere Khan dare not kill thee in the jungle ; but remember, 
Akela is very old, and soon the day comes when he cannot 
kill his buck, and then he will be leader no more. Many 
of the wolves that looked thee over when thou wast 
brought to the Council first are old too, and the young 
wolves believe, as Shere Khan has taught them, that a 
man-cub has no place with the Pack. In a little time thou 
wilt be a man.' 

'And what is a man that he should not run with his 
brothers 1 ' said Mowgli. ' I was bom in the jungle. I have 
obeyed the Law of the Jungle, and there is no wolf of ours 
from whose paws I have not pulled a thorn. Surely they 
are my brothers ! ' 



MOWGLI'S BROTHERS 101 

Bagheera stretched himself at full length and half shut 
his eyes. * Little Brother,' said he, 'feel under my jaw.' 

Mowgli put up his strong brown hand, and just under 
Bagheera's silky chin, where the giant rolling muscles were 
all hid by the glossy hair, he came upon a little bald spot. 

* There is no one in the jungle that knows that I, 
Bagheera, carry that mark — the mark of the collar ; and 
yet, Little Brother, I was born among men, and it was 
among men that my mother died— in the cages of the 
King's Palace at Oodejrpore. It was because of this that I 
paid the price for thee at the Council when thou wast a 
little naked cub. Yes, I too was born among men. I had 
never seen the jungle. They fed me behind bars from an 
iron pan till one night I felt that I was Bagheera — ^the 
Panther — and no man's plaything, and I broke the silly 
lock with one blow of my paw and came away; and 
because I had learned the ways of men, I became more 
terrible in the jungle than Shere Khan. Is it not so ? ' 

* Yes,* said Mowgli ; ' aU the jungle fear Bagheera — all 
except Mowgli.' 

* Oh, thou art a man's cub,* said the Black Panther, very 
tenderly; *and even as I returned to my jungle, so thou 
must go back to men at last, — to the men who are thy 
brothers, — if thou art not killed in the Council.' 

* But why — but why should any wish to kill me ? ' said 
Mowgli. 

* Look at me,' said Bagheera ; and Mowgli looked at him 
steadily between the eyes. The big panther turned his 
head away in half a minute. 

^That is why,' he said, shifting his paw on the leaves. 
* Not even I can look thee between the eyes, and I was 
born among men, and I love thee, Little Brother. The 
others they hate thee because their eyes cannot meet thine ; 
because thou art wise ; because thou hast pulled out thorns 
from their feet — because thou art a man.' 



102 THE KIPLING READER 

*Idid not know these tilings,' said Mowgli, sullenly; 
and he frowned under his heavy black eyebrows. 

* What is the Law of the Jungle ? Strike first and then 
give tongue. By thy very carelessness they know that 
thou art a man. But be wise. It is in my heart that 
when Akela misses his next kill, — and at each hunt it 
costs him more to pin the buck, — the Pack will turn against 
him and against thee. They will hold a jmigle Council at 
the Rock, and then — and then — I have it ! ' said Bagheera, 
leaping up. * Go thou down quickly to the men's huts in 
the valley, and take some of the Red Flower which they 
grow there, so that when the time comes thou mayest 
have even a stronger friend than I or Baloo or those of 
the Pack that love thee. Get the Red Flower.' 

By Red Flower Bagheera meant fire, only no creature in 
the jungle will call fire by its proper name. Every beast 
lives in deadly fear of it, and invents a hundred ways of 
describing it. 

' The Red Flower 1 ' said Mowgli. * That grows outside 
their huts in the twilight. I will get some.' 

'There speaks the man's cub,' said Bagheera, proudly. 
'Remember that it grows in little pots. Get one swiftly, 
and keep it by thee for time of need.' 

* Good ! ' said Mowgli. ' I go. But art thou sure, my 
Bagheera' — he slipped his arm round the splendid neck, 
and looked deep into the big eyes — * art thou sure that all 
this is Shere Khan's doing ? ' 

'By the Broken Lock that freed me, I am sure. Little 
Brother.' 

'Then, by the Bull that bought me, I will pay Shere 
Khan full tale for this, and it may be a little over,' said 
Mowgli ; and he bounded away. 

'That is a man. That is all a man,' said Bagheera to 
himself, lying down again. ' Oh, Shere Khan, never was a 
blacker hunting than that frog-hunt of thine ten years ago ! ' 



MOWGLI'S BROTHERS 103 

Mowgli was far and far through the forest, ruiming hard, 
and his heart was hot in him. He came to the cave as the 
evening mist rose, and drew breath, and looked down the 
valley. The cubs were out, but Mother Wolf, at the back 
of the cave, knew by his breathing that something was 
troubling her frog. 

* What is it, Son ? ' she said. 

* Some bat's chatter of Shere Khan,' he called back. ' I 
hunt among the ploughed fields to-night ' ; and he plunged 
downward through the bushes, to the stream at the bottom 
of the valley. There he checked, for he heard the yell of 
the Pack hunting, heard the bellow of a hunted Sambhur, 
and the snort as the buck turned at bay. Then there were 
wicked, bitter howls from the young wolves : * Akela ! 
Akela ! Let the Lone Wolf show his strength. Room 
for the leader of the Pack ! Spring, Akela ! ' 

The Lone Wolf must have sprung and missed his hold, 
for Mowgli heard the snap of his teeth and then a yelp as 
the Sambhur knocked him over with his fore foot- 
He did not wait for anything more, but dashed on ; and 
the yells grew fainter behind him as he ran into the crop- 
lands where the villagers lived. 

* Bagheera spoke truth,' he panted, as he nestled down in 
some cattle-fodder by the window of a hut. ' To-morrow 
is one day both for Akela and for me.' 

Then he pressed his face close to the window and watched 
the fire on the hearth. He saw the husbandman's wife get 
up and feed it in the night with black lumps ; and when 
the morning came and the mists were all white and cold, 
he saw the man's child pick up a wicker pot plastered 
inside with earth, fill it with lumps of red-hot charcoal, 
put it under his blanket, and go out to tend the cows in 
the byre. 

* Is that all ? ' said Mowgli. * If a cub can do it, there is 
nothing to fear ' ; so he strode round the comer and met 



104 THE KIPLING READER 

the boy, took the pot from his hand, and disappeared into 
the mist while the boy howled with fear. 

* They are very like me,' said Mowgli, blowing into the 
pot, as he had seen the woman do. * This thing will die if 
I do not give it things to eat ' ; and he dropped twigs and 
dried bark on the red stuflf. Half-way up the hill he met 
Bagheera with the morning dew shining like moonstones on 
his coat. 

* Akela has missed,' said the Panther. ' They would have 
killed him last night, but they needed thee also. They were 
looking for thee on the hill.' 

* I was among the ploughed lands. I am ready. See ! ' 
Mowgli held up the fire-pot. 

* Grood 1 Now I have seen men thrust a dry branch into 
that stuff, and presently the Red Flower blossomed at the 
end of it. Art thou not afraid ? ' 

*No. Why should I fearl I remember now — if it is 
not a dream — how, before I was a Wolf^ I lay beside the 
Red Flower, and it was warm and pleasant.' 

All that day Mowgli sat in the cave tending his fire-pot 
and dipping dry branches into it to see how they looked 
He found a branch that satisfied him, and in the evening when 
Tabaqui came to the cave and told him rudely enough that 
he was wanted at the Council Rock, he laughed till Tabaqui 
ran away. Then Mowgli went to the Council, still laughing. 

Akela the lone wolf lay by the side of his rock as a sign 
that the leadership of the Pack was open, and Shere Khan 
with his following of scrap-fed wolves walked to and fro 
openly being flattered. Bagheera lay close to Mowgli, and 
the fire-pot was between Mowgli's knees. When they 
were all gathered together, Shere Khan began to speak — 
a thing he would never have dared to do when Akela was in 
his prime. 

*He has no right,' whispered Bagheera. 'Say so. He 
is a dog's son. He will be frightened.' 



MOWGLI'S BEOTHERS 105 

Mowgli sprang to his feet. 'Free People,' he cried, 
»does Shere Kian lead the Pack ? What has a tiger to do 
with our leadership ? ' 

* Seeing that the leadership is yet open, and being asked 
to speak — ' Shere Khan began. 

* By whom 1 ' said Mowgli. ' Are we all jackals, to fawn 
on this cattle-butcher ? The leadership of the Pack is with 
the Pack alone.* 

There were yells of * Silence, thou man's cub ! ' Let him 
speak. He has kept our Law ' ; and at last the seniors of 
the Pack thundered : ' Let the Dead Wolf speak' When a 
leader of the Pack has missed his kill, he is called the Dead 
Wolf as long as he lives, which is not long 

Akela raised his old head wearily : — 

'Free People, and ye too, jackals of Shere Khan, for 
twelve seasons I have led ye to and from the kill, and in all 
that time not one has been trapped or maimed. Now I 
have missed my kill. Ye know how that plot was made. 
Ye know how ye brought me up to an untried buck to 
make my weakness known. It was cleverly done. Your 
right is to kill me here on the Council Rock, now. There- 
fore, I ask, who comes to make an end of the Lone Wolf? 
For it is my right, by the Law of the Jungle, that ye come 
one by one.' 

There was a long hush, for no single wolf cared to fight 
Akela to the death. Then Shere Khan roared: 'Bah! 
what have we to do with this toothless fool? He is doomed 
to die ! It is the man-cub who has lived too long. Free 
People, he was my meat from the first. Give him to me. 
I am weary of this man-wolf folly. He has troubled the 
jungle for ten seasons. Give me the man-cub, or I will 
hunt here always, and not give you one bone. He is a 
man, a man's child, and from the marrow of my bones I 
hate him ! ' 

Then more than half the Pack yelled : ' A man ! a man ! 



106 THE KIPLING READER 

What has a man to do with us 1 Let him go to his own 
place. 

'And turn all the people of the villages against us?' 
clamoured Shere Khan. ' No ; give him to me. He is a 
man, and none of us can look him between the eyes.' 

Akela lifted his head again, and said : * He has eaten our 
food. He has slept with us. He has driven game for us. 
He has broken no word of the Law of the Jungle.* 

* Also, I paid for him with a Bull when he was accepted. 
The worth of a bull is little, but Bagheera's honour is 
something that he will perhaps fight for,' said Bagheera, in 
his gentlest voice. 

* A bull paid ten years ago ! ' the Pack snarled. * Wbat 
do we care for bones ten years old ? ' 

* Or for a pledge ? ' said Bagheera, his white teeth bared 
under his lip. ' Well are ye called the Free People ! ' 

* No man's cub can run with the people of the jungle/ 
howled Shere Khan. * G-ive him to me ! ' 

' He is our brother in all but blood,' Akela went on; *and 
ye would kill him here ! In truth, I have lived too long. 
Some of ye are eaters of cattle, and of others I have heard 
that, under Shere Khan's teaching, ye go by dark night 
and snatch children from the villager's door-step. There- 
fore I know ye to be cowards, and it is to cowards I speak. 
It is certain that I must die, and my life is of no worth, or 
I would offer that in the man-cub's place. But for the sake 
of the Honour of the Pack, — a little matter that by being 
without a leader ye have forgotten, — I promise that if ye 
let the man-cub go to his own place, I will not, when my 
time comes to die, bare one tooth against ye. I will die 
without fighting. That will at least save the Pack three 
lives. More I cannot do ; but if ye will, I can save ye the 
shame that comes of killing a brother against whom there 
is no fault, — a brother spoken for and bought into the Pack 
according to the Law of the Jungle.' 



MOWGLI'S BROTHEES 107 

*He is a man — a man— a man — !' snarled the Pack; 
and most of the wolves hegan to gather round Shere 
Khan, whose tail was beginning to switch. 

*Now the business is in thy hands,' said Bagheera to 
Mowgli. * We can do no more except fight.' 

Mowgli stood upright— the fire-pot in his hands. Then 
he stretched out his arms, and yawned in the face of the 
CJouncil; but he was furious with rage and sorrow, for, 
wolf-like, the wolves had never told him how they hated 
him. * Listen you ! ' he cried. * There is no need for this 
dog's jabber. Ye have told me so often to night that I am 
a man (and indeed I would have been a wolf with you to 
my life's end), that I feel your words are true. So I do 
not call ye my brothers any more, but sag [dogs], as a 
man should. What ye will do, and what ye will not do, 
is not yours to say. That matter is with tm] and that 
we may see the matter more plainly, I, the man, have 
brought here a little of the Red Flower which ye, dogs, 
fear.' 

He flung the fire-pot on the ground, and some of the red 
coals lit a tuft of dried moss that flared up, as all the 
CJouncil drew back in terror before the leaping flames. 

Mowgli thrust his dead branch into the fire till the twigs 
lit and crackled, and whirled it above his head among 
the cowering wolves. 

* Thou art the master,' said Bagheera, in an undertone. 
* Save Akela from the death. He was ever thy friend.' 

Akela, the grim old wolf who had never asked for mercy 
in his life, gave one piteous look at Mowgli as the boy 
stood all naked, his long black hair tossing over his 
shoulders in the light of the blazing branch that made the 
shadows jump and quiver. 

* Grood I ' said Mowgli, staring round slowly. * I see that 
ye are dogs. I go from you to my own people — if they be 
my own people. The jungle is shut to me, and I must 



108 THE KIPLING READER 

forget your talk and your companionship; but I will be 
more merciful than ye are. Because I was all but your 
brother in blood, I promise that when I am a man among 
men I will not betray ye to men as ye have betrayed me.' 
He kicked the fire with his foot, and the sparks flew up. 
'There shall be no war between any of us in the Pack. 
But here is a debt to pay before I go.' He strode forward 
to where Shere Khan sat blinking stupidly at the flames, 
and caught him by the tuft on his chia Bagheera followed 
in case of accidents. ' Up, dog ! ' Mowgli cried. * Up, 
when a man speaks, or I will set that coat ablaze ! ' 

Share Khan's ears lay flat back on his head, and he shut 
his eyes, for the blazing branch was very near. 

* This cattle-killer said he would kill me in the Council 
because he had not killed me when I was a cub. Thus and 
thus, then, do we beat dogs when we are men. Stir a 
whisker, Lungri, and I ram the Red Flower down thy 
gullet ! ' He beat Shere Kian over the head with the 
branch, and the tiger whimpered and whined in an agony 
of fear. 

* Pah ! Singed jungle-cat — go now ! But remember when 
next I come to the Council Rock, as a man should come, it 
will be with Shere Khan's hide on my head. For the rest, 
Akela goes free to live as he pleases. Ye will not kill him, 
because that is not my will. Nor do I think that ye will 
sit here any longer, lolling out your tongues as though ye 
were somebodies, instead of dogs whom I drive out — thus ! 
Go I ' The fire was burning furiously at the end of the 
branch, and Mowgli struck right and left round the circle, 
and the wolves ran howling with the sparks burning their 
fur. At last there were only Akela, Bagheera, and perhaps 
ten wolves that had taken Mowgli's part. Then something 
began to hurt Mowgli inside him, as he had never been 
hurt in his life before, and he caught his breath and sobbed, 
and the tears ran down his face. 



MOWGLI'S BROTHEES 109 

* What is it 1 What is it ? ' he said. ' I do not wish to 
leave the jungle, and I do not know what this is. Am I 
dying, Bagheera 1 ' 

*No, Little Brother. That is only tears such as men 
use,' said Bagheera. * Now I know thou art a man, and a 
man's cub no longer. The jungle is shut indeed to thee 
henceforward. Let them fall, Mowgli. They are only 
tears.' So Mowgli sat and cried as though his heart would 
break ; and he had never cried in all his life before. 

* Now,' he said, * I will go to men. But first I must say 
farewell to my mother ' ; and he went to the cave where 
she lived with Father Wolf, and he cried on her coat, while 
the four cubs howled miserably. 

* Ye will not forget me 1 ' said MowgK. 

* Never while we can follow a trail,' said the cubs. 
* Come to the foot of the hill when thou art a man, and we 
will talk to thee ; and we will come into the crop-lands to 
play with thee by night.' 

* Come soon ! ' said Father Wolf * Oh, wise little frog, 
come again soon ; for we be old, thy mother and I.' 

* Come soon,'- said Mother Wolf, 'little naked son of mine; 
for, listen, child of man, I loved thee more than ever I loved 
my cubs.' 

' I will surely come,' said Mowgli ; * and when I come it 
will be to lay out Shere Khan's hide upon the Council Rock. 
Bo not forget me ! Tell them in the jungle never to forget 
me!' 

The dawn was beginning to break when Mowgli went 
down the hillside alone, to meet those mysterious things 
that are called men. 



THE LOST LEaiON. 

When the Indian Mutiny broke out, and a little time 
before the siege of Delhi, a regiment of Native Irregular 
Horse was stationed at Peshawur on the Frontier of India. 
That regiment caught what John Lawrence called at the 
time ' the prevalent mania,' and would have thrown in its 
lot with the mutineers had it been allowed to do so. The 
chance never came, for,- as the regiment swept off down 
south, it was headed up by a remnant of an English corps 
into the hills of Afghanistan, and there the newly-conquered 
tribesmen turned against it as wolves turn against buck. 
It was hunted for the sake of its arms and accoutrements 
from hill to lull, from ravine to ravine, up and down the 
dried beds of rivers and round the shoulders of bluffs, till it 
disappeared as water sinks in the sand — this officerless, 
rebel regiment. The only trace left of its existence today 
is a nominal roU drawn up in neat round hand and counter- 
signed by an officer who called himself 'Adjutant, late 

Irregular Cavalry.' The paper is yellow with years 

and dirt, but on the back of it you can still read a pencil 
note by John Lawrence, to this effect : * See that the two 
native officers who remained loyal are not deprived of their 
estatea — J. L,' Of six hundred and fifty sabres only two 
stood strain, and John Lawrence in the midst of all the 
agony of the first months of the mutiny found time to 
think about their merits. 

That was more than thirty years ago, and the tribesmen 

110 



THE LOST LEGION 111 

across the Afghan border who helped to annihilate the 
regiment are now old men. Sometimes a graybeard speaks 
of his share in the massacre. *They came,' he will say, 
* across the border, very proud, calling upon us to rise and 
Mil the English, and go down to the sack of Delhi. But 
we who had just been conquered by the same English knew 
that they were over bold, and that the Gk>vernnient could 
account easily for those down-country dogs. This Hindu- 
stani regiment, therefore, we treated with fair words, and 
kept standing in one place till the redcoats came after them 
very hot and angry. Then this regiment ran forward a 
little more into our hills to avoid the wrath of the English, 
and we lay upon their flanks watching from the sides of the 
hills till we were well assured that their path was lost 
behind them. Then we came down, for we desired their 
clothes, and their bridles, and their rifles, and their boots — 
more especially their boots. That was a great killing — 
done slowly.' Here the old man will rub his nose, and 
shake his long snaky locks, and lick his bearded lips, and 
grin till the yellow tooth-stumps show. *Yes, we killed 
them because we needed their gear, and we knew that their 
lives had been forfeited to God on account of their sin — 
the sin of treachery to the salt which they had eaten. 
They rode up and down the valleys, stumbling and rocking 
in their saddles, and howling for mercy. We drove them 
slowly like cattle till they were all assembled in one place, 
the flat wide valley of Sheor K6t. Many had died from 
want of water, but there still were many left, and they 
could not make any stand. We went among them, pulling 
them down with our hands two at a time, and our boys 
killed them who were new to the sword. My share of the 
plunder was such and such — so many guns, and so many 
saddles. The guns were good in those days. Now we 
steal the Government rifles, and despise smooth barrels. 
Yes, beyond doubt we wiped that regiment from ofi* the 



112 THE KIPLING READER 

face of the earth, and even the memory of the deed is now 

dying. But men say ' 

At this point the tale would stop abruptly, and it was 
impossible to find out what men said across the border. 
The Afghans were always a secretive race, and vastly 
preferred doing something wicked to saying anything at 
all. They would be quiet and well-behaved for months, 
till one night, without word or warning, they would rush 
a police-post, cut the throats of a constable or two, dash 
through a village, carry away three or four women, and 
withdraw, in the red glare of burning thatch, driving the 
cattle and goats before them to their own desolate hiUs. 
The Indian Government would become almost tearful on 
these occasions. First it would say, * Please be good and 
well forgive you.' The tribe concerned in the latest depre- 
dation would collectively put its thumb to its nose and 
answer rudely. Then the Government would say: 'Hadn't 
you better pay up a little money for those few corpses you 
left behind you the other night ? ' Here the tribe would 
temporise, and lie and bully, and some of the younger men, 
merely to show contempt of authority, would raid another 
police-post and fire into some frontier mud fort, and, if 
lucky, kiU a real English officer. Then the Government 
would say : ' Observe ; if you really persist in this line of 
conduct you will be hurt.' If the tribe knew exactly what 
was going on in India, it would apologise or be rude, 
according as it learned whether the Government was busy 
with other things, or able to devote its full attention to 
their performances. Some of the tribes knew to one corpse 
how far to go. Others became excited, lost their heads, 
and told the Government to come on. With sorrow and 
tears, and one eye on the British taxpayer at home, who 
insisted on regarding these exercises as brutal wars of 
annexation, the Government would prepare an expensive 
little field-brigade and some guns, and send all up into the 



THE LOST LEGION 113 

hills to chase the wicked tribe out of the valleys, whore 
the com grew, into the hill-tops where there was nothing 
to eat. The tribe would turn out in fiill strength and 
enjoy the campaign, for they knew that their women would 
never be touched, that their wounded would be nursed, not 
mutilated, and that as soon as each man's bag of corn was 
spent they could surrender and palaver with the English 
General as though they had been a real enemy. After- 
wards, years afterwards, they would pay the blood-money, 
driblet by driblet, to the Government and tell their children 
how they had slain the redcoats by thousands. The only 
drawback to this kind of picnic-war was the weakness of 
the redcoats for solemnly blowing up with powder their 
fortified towers and keeps. This the tribes always con- 
sidered mean. 

Chief among the leaders of the smaller tribes — the little 
clans who knew to a penny the expense of moving white 
troops against them — was a priest-bandit-chief whom we 
will call the Gulla Kutta Mullah. His enthusiasm for 
border murder as an art was almost dignified. He would 
cut down a mail-runner fcom pure wantonness, or bombard 
a mud fort with rifle fire when he knew that our men 
needed to sleep. Li his leisure moments he would go on 
circuit among his neighbours, and try to incite other tribes 
to devilry. Also, he kept a kind of hotel for fellow-outlaws 
in his own village, which lay in a valley called Bersund. 
Any respectable murderer on that section of the fi:ontier 
was sure to lie up at Bersund, for it was reckoned an 
exceedingly safe place. The sole entry to it ran through a 
narrow gorge which could be converted into a death-trap 
in five minutes- It was surrounded by high hills, reckoned 
inaccessible to all save bom mountaineers, and here the 
Gulla Kutta Mullah lived in great state, the head of a 
colony of mud and stone huts, and in each mud hut hung 
some portion of a red uniform and the plunder of dead men. 
K.R. H 



lU THE KIPLING READER 

The Government particularly wished for his capture, and 
once invited him fonnally to come out and be hanged on 
account of a few of the murders in which he had taken a 
direct part. He replied : — 

'I am only twenty miles, as the crow flies, from your 
border. Come and fetch me.' 

' Some day we will come,' said the Grovermnent, * and 
hanged you will be/ 

The GuUa Kutta Mullah let the matter from his mind. 
He knew that the patience of the Government was as long 
as a summer day ; but he did not realise that its arm was 
as long as a winter night. Months afterwards when there 
was peace on the border, and all India was quiet, the 
Indian Government turned in its sleep and remembered 
the GuUa Kutta Mullah at Bersund, with his thirteen 
outlaws. The movement against him of one single regi- 
ment — which the telegrams would have translated as war 
— would have been highly impolitic. This was a time for 
silence and speed, and, above all, absence of bloodshed. 

You must know that all along the north-west frontier of 
India there is spread a force of some thirty thousand foot 
and horse, whose duty it is quietly and unostentatiously to 
shepherd the tribes in front of them. They move up and 
down, and down and up, from one desolate little post to 
another; they are ready to take the field at ten minutes* 
notice ; they are always half in and half out of a difficulty 
somewhere along the monotonous line ; their lives are as 
hard as their own muscles, and the papers never say any- 
thing about them. It was from this force that the 
Government picked its men. 

One night at a station where the mounted Night Patrol 
fire as they challenge, and the wheat rolls in great blue- 
green waves under our cold northern moon, the officers 
were playing billiards in the mud-walled club-house, when 
orders came to them that they were to go on parade at 



THE LOST LEGION 115 

once for a night-drill. They grumbled, and went to turn 
out their men— -a hundred English troops, let us say, two 
hundred Goorkhas, and about a hundred cavalry of the 
finest native cavalry in the world. 

When they were on the parade-ground, it was explained 
to them in whispers that they must set off at once across 
the hills to Bersund. The English troops were to post 
themselves round the hills at the side of the valley ; the 
Groorkhas would command the gorge and the death-trap, 
and the cavalry would fetch a long march round and get to 
the back of the circle of hills, whence, if there were any 
difficulty, they could charge down on the Mullah's men. 
But orders were very strict that there should be no fighting 
and no noise. They were to return in the morning with 
every round of ammunition intact, and the Mullah and the 
thirteen outlaws bound in their midst. If they were 
successfiil, no one would know or care anything about their 
work ; but failure meant probably a small border war, in 
which the GuUa Kutta Mullah would pose as a popular 
leader against a big bullying power, instead of a common 
border murderer. 

Then there was silence, broken only by the clicking of the 
compass needles and snapping of watch-cases, as the heads 
of columns compared bearings and made appointments for 
the rendezvous. Five minutes later the parade-ground was 
empty ; the green coats of the Goorkhas and the overcoats 
of the English troops had faded into the darkness, and the 
cavalry were cantering away in the face of a blinding drizzle. 

What the Goorkhas and the English did will be seen 
later on. The heavy work lay with the horses, for they 
had to go far and pick their way clear of habitations. 
Many of the troopers were natives of that part of the 
world, ready and anxious to fight against their kin, and 
some of the officers had made private and unofficial excur- 
sions into those hills before. They crossed the border. 



116 THE KIPLING READER 

found a dried river bed, cantered up that, walked through 
a stony gorge, risked crossing a low hill under cover of 
the darkness, skirted another hill, leaving their hoof-marks 
deep in some ploughed ground, felt their way along another 
watercourse, ran over the neck of a spur, praying that no 
one would hear their horses grunting, and so worked on in 
the rain and the darkness, till they had left Bersund and its 
crater of hiUs a little behind them, and to the left, and it 
was time to swing round. The ascent commanding the 
back of Bersund was steep, and they halted to draw breath 
in a broad level valley below the height. That is to say, 
the men reined up, but the horses, blown as they were, 
refused to halt. There was unchristian language, the worse 
for being delivered in a whisper, and you heard the saddles 
squeaking in the darkness as the horses plunged. 

The subaltern at the rear of one troop turned in his 
saddle and said very softly : — 

' Carter, what the blessed heavens are you doing at the 
rear ? Bring your men up, man.' 

There was no answer, tiU a trooper repMed : — 

* Carter Sahib is forward — not there. There is nothing 
behind us.' 

* There is,' said the subaltam. ' The squadron's walking 
on it's own taiL' 

Then the Major in command moved down to the rear 
swearing softly and asking for the blood of Lieutenant 
HaUey — the subaltern who had just spoken. 

*Look after your rearguard,' said the Major. 'Some of 
your infernal thieves have got lost. They're at the head of 
the squadron, and you're a several kinds of idiot.' 

* Shall I tell off my men, sir ? ' said the subaltern sulkily, 
for he was feeling wet and cold. 

' Tell 'em off! ' said the Major. * Whip 'em off, by Gad ! 
You're squandering them all over the place. There's a 
troop behind you now 1 ' 



THE LOST LEGION 117 

* So I was thinking,' said the subaltern calmly. * I have 
all my men here, sir. Better speak to Carter.' 

* Carter Sahib sends salaam and wants to know why the 
regiment is stopping,' said a trooper to Lieutenant Halley. 

* Where under heaven is Carter 1 ' said the Major. 

* Forward with his troop,' was the answer. 

* Are we walking in a ring, then, or are we the centre of 
a blessed brigade 1 ' said the Major. 

By this time there was silence all along the column. 
The horses were still; but, through the drive of the fine 
rain, men could hear the feet of many horses moving over 
stony ground. 

' We're being stalked,* said Lieutenant Halley. 

'They've no horses here. Besides they'd have fired 
before this,' said the Major. * It's — ^it's villagers' ponies.' 

*Then our horses would have neighed and spoilt the 
attack long ago. They must have been near us for half an 
hour,' said the subaltern. 

* Queer that we can't smell the horses,' said the Major, 
damping his finger and rubbing it on his nose as he sniffed 
up wind. 

*Well, it's a bad start,' said the subjaltem, shaking the 
wet from his overcoat. * What shall we do, sir 1 ' 

* Get on,' said the Major. * We shall catch it to-night.' 
The column moved forward very gingerly for a few paces. 

Then there was an oath, a shower of blue sparks as shod 
hooves crashed on small stones, and a man roUed over with 
a jangle of accoutrements that would have waked the dead. 

* Now we've gone and done it,' said Lieutenant Halley. 
* All the hillside awake, and all the hillside to climb in the 
face of musketry-fire. This comes of trying to do night- 
hawk work.' 

The trembling trooper picked himself up, and tried to 
explain that his horse had fallen over one of the little cairns 
that are built of loose stones on the spot where a man has 



118 THE KIPLING READER 

been murdered. There was no need for reasons. The 
Major's big Australian charger blundered next, and the 
column came to a halt in what seemed to be a very grave- 
yard of little cairns aU about two feet high. The manoeu- 
vres of the squadron are not reported. Men said that it felt 
like mounted quadrilles without training and without the 
music ; but at last the horses, breaking rank and choosing 
their own way, walked clear of the caims, till every man of 
the squadron re-formed and drew rein a few yards up the 
slope of the hill. Then, according to Lieutenant Halley, 
there was another scene very like the one which has been 
described. The Major and Carter insisted that all the men 
had not joined rank, and that there were more of them in the 
rear clicking and blundering among the dead men's caims. 
Lieutenant HaUey told off his own troopers again and 
resigned himself to wait. Later on he told me : — 

* I didn't much know, and I didn't much care what was 
going on. The row of that trooper falling ought to 
have scared half the country, and I would take my oath 
that we were being stalked by a full regiment in the rear, 
and they were making row enough to rouse all Afghanistan. 
I sat tight, but nothing happened.' 

The mysterious part of the night's work was the silence 
on the hillside. Everybody knew that the Gulla Kutta 
Mullah had his outpost huts on the reverse side of the hill, 
and everybody expected by the time that the Major had 
sworn himself into a state of quiet that the watchmen there 
would open fire. When nothing occurred, they said that 
the gusts of the rain had deadened the sound of the horses, 
and thanked Providence. At last the Major satisfied him- 
self (a) that he had left no one behind among the caims, 
and (6) that he was not being taken in the rear by a large 
and powerful body of cavalry. The men's tempers were 
thoroughly spoiled, the horses were lathered and unquiet, 
and one and all prayed for the daylight. 



THE LOST LEGION 119 

They set themselves to climb up the hill, each man leading 
his mount carefully. Before they had covered the lower 
slopes or the breastplates and begun to tighten, a thunder- 
storm came up behind, rolling across the low hills and 
drowning any noise less than that of cannon. The first 
flash of the lightning showed the bare ribs of the ascent, the 
hill-crest standing steely blue against the black sky, the 
little falling lines of the rain, and, a few yards to their 
left flank, an Afghan watch-tower, two-storied, built of stone, 
and entered by a ladder from the upper story. The ladder 
was up, and a man with a rifle was leaning from the 
window. The darkness and the thunder rolled down in an 
instant, and, when the lull followed, a voice from the watch- 
tower cried, * Who goes there ? ' 

The cavalry were very quiet, but each man gripped his 
carbine and stood beside his horse. Again the voice called, 

* Who goes there 1 ' and in a louder key, * 0, brothers, give 
the alarm ! ' Now, every man in the cavalry would have 
died in his long boots sooner than have asked for quarter; 
but it is a fact that the answer to the second call was a 
long wail of * Marf karo ! Marf karo ! ' which means, 

* Have mercy ! Have mercy ! ' It came from the climbing 
regiment. 

The cavalry stood dumbfoundered, till the big troopers 
had time to whisper one to another : * Mir Kian, was that 
thy voice 1 Abdullah, didst thou call 'i ' Lieutenant Halley 
stood beside his charger and waited. So long as no firing 
was going on he was content. Another flash of lightning 
showed the horses with heaving flanks and nodding heads, 
the men, white eye-balled, glaring beside them and the 
stone watch-tower to the left. This time there was no 
head at the window, and the rude iron-clamped shutter that 
could turn a rifle bullet was closed. 

* Go on, men,' said the Major. * Get up to the top at 
any rate/ The squadron toiled forward, the horses wag- 



120 THE KIPLING READER 

ging their tails and the men pulling at the bridles, the 
stones rolling down the hiUside and the sparks flying. 
Lieutenant Halley declares that he never heard a squadron 
make so much noise in his life. They scrambled up, he 
said, as though each horse had eight legs and a spare horse 
to follow him. Even then there was no sound from the 
watch-tower, and the men stopped exhausted on the ridge 
that overlooked the pit of darkness in which the village of 
Bersund lay. Girths were loosed, curb-chains shifted, and 
saddles adjusted, and the men dropped down among the 
stones. Whatever might happen now, they had the upper 
ground of any attack. 

The thunder ceased, and with it the rain, and the soft 
thick darkness of a winter night before the dawn covered 
them all. Except for the sound of falling water among the 
ravines below, everything was still. They heard the shutter 
of the watch-tower below them thrown back with a clang, 
and the voice of the watcher calling : ' Oh, Hafiz UUah ! ' 

The echoes took up the call, ' La-la-la ! ' And an answer 
came firom the watch-tower hidden round the curve of the 
hill, * What is it, Shahbaz Khan V 

Shahbaz Khan replied in the high-pitched voice of the 
mountaineer : * Hast thou seen V 

The answer came back : ' Yes. God deliver us from all 
evil spirits ! * 

There was a pause, and then : * Hafiz UUah, I am alone ! 
Come to me ! ' 

* Shahbaz Khan, I am alone also ; but I dare not leave 
my post ! * 

' That is a lie ; thou art afraid.' 

A longer pause followed, and then : * I am afraid. Be 
silent ! They are below us still. Pray to God and sleep.' 

The troopers listened and wondered, for they could not 
understand what save earth and stone could lie below the 
watch-towers. 



THE LOST LEGION 121 

Shahbaz Khan began to call again : * They are below us. 
I can see them. For the pity of Grod come over to me, 
Hafiz Ullah ! My father slew ten of them. Come over ! ' 

Hafiz Ullah answered in a very loud voice, *Mine was 
guiltless. Hear, ye Men of the Night, neither my father 
nor my blood had any part in that sin. Bear thou thy 
own punishment, Shahbaz Khan.' 

*0h, some one ought to stop those two chaps crowing 
away like cocks there,' said Lieutenant Halley, shivering 
under his rock. 

He had hardly turned round to expose a new side of him 
to the rain before a bearded, long-locked, evil-smelling 
Afghan rushed up the hill, and tumbled into his arms. 
Halley sat upon him, and thrust as much of a sword-hilt as 
could be spared down the man's gullet. * If you cry out, I 
kill you,' he said cheerfully. 

The man was beyond any expression of terror. He lay 
and quaked, grunting. When Halley took the sword-hilt 
from between his teeth, he was still inarticulate, but clung 
to HaUey's arm, feeling it from elbow to wrist. 

* The Rissala ! The dead Rissala ! ' he gasped. ' It is 
down there ! ' 

* No ; the Bissala, the very much alive Eissala. It is up 
here,' said Halley, unshipping his watering-bridle, and 
fostening the man's hands. * Why were you in the towers 
so foolish as to let us pass 1 ' 

* The valley is full of the dead,' said the Afghan. • It is 
better to ML into the hands of the English than the hands 
of the dead. They march to and fro below there. I saw 
them in the lightning.' 

He recovered his composure after a little, and whispering, 
because HaUey's pistol was at his stomach, said : ' What is 
this ? There is no war between us now, and the Mullah 
will kill me for not seeing you pass ! ' 

*Rest easy,' said Halley; 'we are coming to kill the 



122 THE KEPLINa READER 

Mullah, if God please. His teeth have grown too long. 
No harm will come to thee unless the daylight shows thee 
as a face which is desired hy the gallows for crime done. 
But what of the dead regiment ? ' 

'I only kill within my own border,' said the man, im- 
mensely relieved. *The Dead Regiment is below. The 
men must have passed through it on their journey — four 
hundred dead on horses, stumbling among their own graves, 
among the little heaps — dead men all, whom we slew.' 

' Whew ! ' said HAlley. * That accounts for my cursing 
Carter and the Major cursing me. Four hundred sabres, 
eh ? No wonder we thought there were a few extra men 
in the troop. Kurruk Shah,' he whispered to a grizzled 
native officer that lay within a few feet of him, ' hast thou 
heard anything of a dead Rissala in these hills 1 ' 

'Assuredly,' said Kurruk Shah with a grim chuckle. 
'Otherwise, why did I, who have served the Queen for 
seven-and-twenty years, and killed many hill-dogs, shout 
aloud for quarter when the lightning revealed us to the 
watch-towers 1 When I was a young man I saw the killing 
in the valley of Sheor-K6t there at our feet, and I know 
the tale that grew up therefrom. But how can the ghosts 
of unbelievers prevail against us who are of the Faith? 
Strap that dog's hands a little tighter, Sahib. An Afghan 
is like an eeL' 

'But a dead Rissala,' said Halley, jerking his captive's 
wrist. * That is foolish talk, Kurruk Shah. The dead are 
dead- Hold still, sag.^ The Afghan wriggled 

'The dead are dead, and for that reason they walk at 
night. What need to talk? We be men; we have our 
eyes and ears. Thou canst both see and hear them, down 
the hillside,' said Kurruk Shah composedly. 

Halley stared and listened long and intently. The valley 
was fiill of stifled noises, as every valley must be at night ; 
but whether he saw or heard more than was natural Halley 



THE LOST LEGION 123 

alone knows, and he does not choose to speak on the 
subject. 

At last, and just before the dawn, a green rocket shot up 
from the far side of the valley of Bersund, at the head of 
the gorge, to show that the Goorkhas were in position. 
A red light from the infantry at left and right answered it^ 
and the cavalry burnt a white flare. Afghans in winter are 
late sleepers, and it was not till fiill day that the GuUa 
Kutta Mullah's men began to straggle from their huts, 
rubbing their eyes. They saw men in green, and red, and 
brown uniforms, leaning on their arms, neatly arranged all 
round the crater of the village of Bersund, in a cordon that 
not even a wolf could have broken. They rubbed their 
eyes the more when a pink-faced young man, who was not 
even in the Army, but represented the Political Department, 
tripped down the hillside with two orderlies, rapped at the 
door of the Gulla Kutta Mullah's house, and told him 
quietly to step out and be tied up for safe transport. That 
same young man passed on through the huts, tapping here 
one cateran and there another lightly with his cane; and as 
each was pointed out, so he was tied up, staring hopelessly 
at the crowned heights around where the English soldiers 
looked down with incurious eyes. Only the Mullah tried 
to carry it off with curses and high words, till a soldier who 
was tjdng his hands said : — 

* None o' your lip ! Why didn't you come out when you 
was ordered, instead o' keepin' us awake all night ? You're 
no better than my own barrack-sweeper, you white-'eaded 
old polyanthus ! Kim up ! ' 

Half an hour later the troops had gone away with the 
Mullah and his thirteen friends. The dazed villagers were 
looking ruefully at a pile of broken muskets and snapped 
swords, and wondering how in the world they had come 
so to miscalculate the forbearance of the Indian Govern- 
ment. 



124 THE KIPLING READER 

It was a very neat little affair, neatly carried out, and the 
men concerned were unofficially thanked for their services. 

Yet it seems to me that much credit is also due to 
another regiment whose name did not appear in the brigade 
orders, and whose very existence is in danger of being 
forgotten. 



NAMGAY DOOLA. 

There came to the beach a poor exile of Erin, 

The dew on his wet robe hung heavy and chill ; 

Ere the steamer that brought him had passed out of hearing 

He was Alderman Mike inthrojoicing' a bill I 

American Song. 

Once upon a time there was a King who lived on the road 
to Thibet, very many miles in the Himalayas. His King- 
dom was eleven thousand feet above the sea and exactly 
four miles square; but most of the miles stood on end 
owing to the nature of the country. His revenues were 
rather less than four hundred pounds yearly, and they 
were expended in the maintenance of one elephant and a 
standing army of five men. He was tributary to the 
Indian Government, who allowed him certain sums for 
keeping a section of the Himalaya-Thibet road in repair. 
He further increased his revenues by selling timber to the 
Railway companies ; for he would cut the great deodar 
trees in his one forest, and they fell thundering into the 
Sutlej river and were swept down to the plains three 
hundred miles away and became railway-ties. Now and 
again this King, whose name does not matter, would 
mount a ringstraked horse and ride scores of miles to 
Simla-town to confer with the Lieutenant-Governor on 
matters of state, or to assure the Viceroy that his sword 
was at the service of the Queen-Empress. Then the 
Viceroy would cause a ruffle of drums to be sounded, 

125 



126 THE KIPLING READER 

and the ringstraked horse and the cavalry of the State — 
two men in tatters — and the herald who bore the silver 
stick before the King, would trot back to their own place, 
which lay between the tail of a heaven- climbing glacier and 
a dark birch-forest. 

Now, from such a King, always remembering that he 
possessed one veritable elephant, and could count his 
descent for twelve hundred years, I expected, when it waa 
my fate to wander through his dominions, no more than 
mere license to live. 

The night had closed in rain, and rolling clouds blotted 
out the lights of the villages in the valley. Forty miles 
away, untouched by cloud or storm, the white shoulder of 
Donga Pa — the Mountain of the Council of the Gods — 
upheld the Evening Star. The monkeys sang sorrowfully 
to each other as they hunted for dry roosts in the fern- 
wreathed trees, and the last puff of the day-wind brought 
from the unseen villages the scent of damp wood-smoke, 
hot cakes, dripping undergrowth, and rotting pine-cones. 
That is the true smell of the Himalayas, and if once it 
creeps into the blood of a man, that man will at the last, 
forgetting all else, return to the hills to die. The clouds 
closed and the smell went away, and there remained 
nothing in all the world except chilling white mist and the 
boom of the Sutlej river racing through the valley below. 
A fat-tailed sheep, who did not want to die, bleated 
piteously at my tent door. He was scuffling with the 
Prime Minister and the Director-General of Public Educa- 
tion, and he was a royal gift to nle and my camp servants. 
I expressed my thanks suitably, and asked if I might have 
audience of the King. The Prime Minister readjusted his 
turban, which hlid fallen off in the struggle, and assured me 
that the King would be very pleased to see me. Therefore, 
I despatched two bottles as a foretaste, and when the 
sheep had entered upon another incarnation went to the 



NAMGAY DOOLA 127 

King's Palace through the wet. He had sent his army to 
escort me, but the army stayed to talk with my cook. 
Soldiers are very much alike all the world over. 

The Palace was a four-roomed, and whitewashed mud 
and timber-house, the finest in all the hills for a day's 
journey. The King was dressed in a purple velvet jacket, 
white muslin trousers, and a saffron -yellow turban of price. 
He gave me audience in a little carpeted room opening off 
the palace courtyard which was occupied by the Elephant 
of State. The great beast was sheeted and anchored from 
trunk to tail, and the curve of his back stood out grandly 
against the mist. 

The Prime Minister and the Director-General of Public 
Education were present to introduce me, but all the court 
had been dismissed, lest the two bottles aforesaid should 
corrupt their morals. The King cast a wreath of heavy- 
scented flowers round my neck as I bowed, and inquired 
how my honoured presence had the felicity to be. I said 
that through seeing his auspicious countenance the mists of 
the night had turned into sunshine, and that by reason of 
his beneficent sheep his good deeds would be remembered 
by the Gods. He said that since I had set my magnificent 
foot in his Kingdom the crops would probably yield- seventy 
per cent, more than the average. I said that the fame of 
the King had reached to the four corners of the earth, and 
that the nations gnashed their teeth when they heard daily 
of the glories of his realm and the wisdom of his moon-like 
Prime Mimster and lotus-like Director-General of Public 
Education. 

Then we sat down on clean white cushions, and I was at 
the King's right hand. Three minutes later he was telling 
me that the state of the maize crop was something disgrace- 
ful, and that the Eailway companies would not pay him 
enough for his timber. The talk shifted to and fro with 
the bottles, and we discussed very many stately things, and 



128 THE KIPLING EEADER 

the King became confidential on the subject of Government 
generally. Most of all he dwelt on the shortcomings of 
one of his subjects, who, from all I could gather, had been 
paralysing the executive. 

* In the old days,' said the King, * I could have ordered 
the Elephant yonder to trample him to death. Now I 
must e'en send him seventy miles across the hills to be 
tried, and his keep would be upon the State. The Elephant 
eats everything.' 

' What be the man's crimes. Rajah Sahib ? ' said I. 

'Firstly, he is an outlander and no man of mine own 
people. Secondly, since of my favour I gave him land 
upon his first coming, he refuses to pay revenue. Am I 
not the lord of the earth, above and below, entitled by 
right and custom to one-eighth of the crop? Yet this 
devil, establishing himself, refuses to pay a single tax ; and 
he brings a poisonous spawn of babes.' 

* Cast him into jail,' I said. 

* Sahib,' the King answered, shifting a little on the 
cushions, * once and only once in these forty years' sickness 
came upon me so that I was not able to go abroad. In 
that hour I made a vow to my God that I would never 
again cut man or woman from the light of the sun and the 
air of God ; for I perceived the nature of the punishment. 
How can I break my vow ? Were it only the lopping of a 
hand or a foot I should not delay. But even that is 
impossible now that the English have rule. One or another 
of my people ' — he looked obliquely at the Director-General 
of Public Education — * would at once write a letter to the 
Viceroy, and perhaps I should be deprived of my ruflae of 
drums.* 

He unscrewed the mouthpiece of his silver water-pipe, 
fitted a plain amber mouthpiece, and passed his pipe to me. 
'Not content with refusing revenue,' he continued, 'this 
outlander refuses also the hegar^ (this was the corvee or 



NAMGAY DOOLA 129 

forced labour on the roads) *and stirs my people up to the 
like treason. Yet he is, when he wills, an expert log- 
snatcher. There is none better or bolder among my people 
to clear a block of the river when the logs stick fast.' 

* But he worships strange Gods,' said the Prime Minister 
deferentially. 

* For that I have no concern,' said the King, who was as 
tolerant as Akbar in matters of belief. • To each man his 
own Grod and the fire or Mother Earth for us all at last. 
It is the rebellion that offends me.' 

'The King has an army,' I suggested. *Has not the 
King burned the man's house and left him naked to the 
night dews ? ' 

' Nay, a hut is a hut, and it holds the life of a man- 
But once, I sent my army against him when his excuses 
became wearisome : of their heads he brake three across the 
top with a stick. The other two men ran away. Also the 
guns would not shoot.' 

I had seen the equipment of the infantry. One-third of 
it was an old muzzle-loading fowling-piece, with a ragged 
rust-hole where the nipples should have been, one-third a 
wire-bound match-lock with a worm-eaten stock, and one- 
third a four-bore flint duck-gun without a flint. 

*But it is to be remembered,' said the King, reaching 
out for the bottle, *that he is a very expert log-snatcher 
and a man of a merry face. What shall I do to him, 
Sahib?' 

This was interesting. The timid hill-folk would as soon 
have refused taxes to their King as revenues to their Gods. 

* If it be the King's permission,' I said, * I will not strike 
my tents till the third day and I will see this man. The 
mercy of the King is God-like, and rebellion is like unto 
the sin of witchcraft. Moreover, both the bottles and 
another be empty.' 

' You have my leave to go,' said the King. 
K.R, I 



130 THE KIPLING READER 

Next morning a crier Avent through the State proclaiming 
that there was a log-jam on the river and that it behoved 
all loyal sujbjects to remove it. The people poured down 
from their villages to the moist, warm valley of poppy-fields ; 
and the King and I went with them. Hundreds of dressed 
deodar-logs had caught on a snag of rock, and the river 
was bringing down more logs every minute to complete the 
blockade. The water snaried and wrenched and worried 
at the timber, and the population of the State began prod- 
ding the nearest logs with a pole in the hope of starting a 
general movement. Then there went up a shout of 
* Namgay Doola ! Namgay Doola ! ' and a large red-haired 
villager hurried up, stripping off his clothes as he ran, 

' That is he. That is the rebel,' said the King. * Now 
will the dam be cleared.' 

*But why has he red h&ivV I asked, since red hair 
among hilt-folks is as common as blue or green. 

* He is an outlander,' said the King. ' "Well done ! 
Oh, well done ! ' 

Namgay Doola had scrambled out on the jam and was 
clawing out the butt of a log with a rude sort of boat- 
hook. It slid forward slowly as an alligator moves, three 
or four others followed it, and the green water spouted 
through the gaps they had made. Then the villagers 
howled and shouted and scrambled across the logs, pulling 
and pushing the obstinate timber, and the red head of 
Namgay Doola was chief among them all. The logs swayed 
and chafed and groaned as fresh consignments from up- 
stream battered the now weakening dam. All gave way 
at last in a smother of foam, racing logs, bobbing black 
heads and confusion indescribable. The river tossed every- 
thing before it. I saw the red head go down with the last 
remnants of the jam and disappear between the great grind- 
ing tree trunks. It rose close to the bank and blowing like 
a grampus. Namgay Doola wrung the water out of his 



NAMGAY DOOLA 131 

eyes and made obeisance to the King. I had time to 
observe him closely. The virulent redness of his shock 
head and beard was most startling ; and in the thicket of 
hair wrinkled above high cheek bones shone two very 
merry blue eyes. He was indeed an outlander, but yet a 
Thibetan in language, habit, and attire. He spoke the 
Lepcha dialect with an indescribable softening of the 
gutturals. It was not so much a Hsp as an accent. 

* Whence comest thouT I asked. 

* From Thibet.' He pointed across the hills and grinned. 
That grin went straight to my heart. Mechanically I held 
out my hand and Namgay Doola shook it. No pure 
Thibetan would have understood the meaning of the 
gesture. He went away to look for his clothes, and as he 
climbed back to his village, I heard a joyous yell that 
seemed unaccountably familiar. It was the whooping of 
Namgay Doola. 

*You see now,' said the King, *why I would not kill 
him. He is a bold man among my logs, but,' and he 
shook his head like a schoolmaster, *I know that before 
long there wiU be complaints of him in the court. Let us 
return to the Palace and do justice.' It was that Bang's 
custom to judge his subjects every day between eleven and 
three o'clock. I saw him decide equitably in weighty 
matters of trespass, slander, and a little wife-stealing. 
Then his brow clouded and he summoned me. 

* Again it is Namgay Doola,' he said despairingly. *Not 
content with refusing revenue on his own part, he has 
bound half his village by an oath to the like treason. 
Never before has such a thing befallen me ! Nor are my 
taxes heavy.' 

A rabbit-faced villager, with a blush-rose stuck behind 
his ear, advanced trembling. He had been in the con- 
spiracy, but had told everything and hoped for the King's 
favour. 



132 THE KIPLING READER 

*0 King,' said I. 'If it be the King's will let this 
matter stand over till the morning. "Only the Grods can do 
right swiftly, and it may be that yonder villager has lied' 

'Nay, for I know the nature of Namgay Doola; but 
since a guest asks let the matter remain. Wilt thou speak 
harshly to this red-headed outlander. He may listen to 
thee.' 

I made an attempt that very evening, but for the life of 
me I could not keep my countenance. Namgay Doola 
grinned persuasively, and began to tell me about a big 
brown bear in a poppy-field by the river. Would I care to 
shoot it 1 I spoke austerely on the sin of conspiracy, and 
the certainty of punishment. Namgay Doola's face clouded 
for a moment. Shortly afterwards he withdrew from my 
tent, and I heard him singing to himself softly among the 
pines. The words were unintelligible to me, but the tune, 
like his liquid insinuating speech, seemed the ghost of 
something strangely familiar. 

Dir han^ mard-i-yemen dir 
To weeree ala gee, 

sang Namgay Doola again 8uid again, and I racked my 
brain for that lost tune. It was not till after dinner that I 
discovered some one had cut a square foot of velvet from 
the centre of my best camerarcloth. This made me so 
angry that I wandered down the valley in the hope of 
meeting the big brown bear. I could hear him grunting 
like a discontented pig in the poppy-field, and I waited 
shoulder deep in the dew-dripping Indian com to catch him 
after his meal. The moon was at full and drew out the 
rich scent of the tasselled crop. Then I heard the anguished 
bellow of a Himalayan cow, one of the little black crummies 
no bigger than Newfoundland dogs. Two shadows that 
looked like a bear and her cub hurried past me. I was in 
act to fire when I saw that they had each a brilliant red 
head. The lesser animal was trailing some rope behind it 



NAMGAY DOOLA 133 

that left a dark track on the path. They passed within 
six feet of me, and the shadow of the moonlight lay velvet- 
black on their faces. Velvet-black was exactly the word, 
for by all the powers of moonlight they were masked in the 
velvet of my camera cloth ! I marvelled and went to bed. 

Next morning the Kingdom was in uproar. Namgay 
Doola, men said, had gone forth in the night and with a 
sharp knife had cut off the tail of a cow belonging to the 
rabbit-faced villager who had betrayed him. It was 
sacrilege unspeakable against the Holy Cow. The State 
desired his blood, but he had retreated into his hut, barri- 
caded the doors and windows with big stones, and defied 
the world. 

The King and I and the Populace approached the hut 
cautiously. There was no hope of capturing the man 
without loss of life, for from a hole in the wall projected 
the muzzle of an extremely well-cared-for gun— the only 
gun in the State that could shoot. Namgay Doola had 
narrowly missed a villager just before we came up. The 
Standing Army stood. It could do no more, for when it 
advanced pieces of sharp shale flew from the windows. To 
these were added from time to time showers of scalding 
water. We saw red heads bobbing up and down in the 
hut. The family of Namgay Doola were aiding their sire, 
and blood-curdling yells of defiance were the only answers to 
our prayers. 

* Never,' said the King, puffing, 'has such a thing befallen 
my State. Next year I will certainly buy a little cannon.' 
He looked at me imploringly. 

* Is there any priest in the Kingdom to whom he will 
listen 1 ' said I, for a light was beginning to break upon me. 

*He worships his own God,' said the Prime Minister. 
We can starve him out.' 
*Let the white man approach,' said Namgay Doola from 
within. All others I will lull. Send me the white man.' 



134 THE KIPLING READER 

The door was thrown open and I entered the smoky 
interior of a Thibetan hut crammed with children. And 
every child had flaming red hair. A raw cow's tail lay on 
tbe floor, and by its side two pieces of black velvet — my 
black velvet — rudely hacked into the semblance of masks. 

' And what is this shame, Namgay Doola ? ' said I. 

He grinned more winningly than ever. * There is no 
shame,' said he. * I did but cut off the tail of that man's 
cow. He betrayed me. I was minded to shoot him, Sahib. 
But not to death. Indeed not to death. Only in the legs.' 

' And why at all, since it is the custom to pay revenue 
to the King? Whyatalir 

'By the God of my father I cannot tell,' said Namgay 
Doola. 

' And who was thy father 1 ' 

*The same that had this gun.' He showed me his 
weapon — a Tower musket bearing date 1832 and the stamp 
of the Honourable East India Company. 

' And thy father's name ? ' said I. 

'Timlay Doola,' said he. 'At the first, I being then a 
little child, it is in my mind that he wore a red coat.' 

' Of that I have no doubt. But repeat the name of thy 
father thrice or four times.' 

He obeyed, and I understood whence the puzzling accent 
in his speech came. 'Thimla Dhula,' said he excitedly. 
' To this hour I worship his Grod.' 

' May I see that God ? ' 

'In a little while — at twilight time.' 

' Rememberest thou aught of thy father's speech ? ' 

'It is long ago. But there is one word which he said 
often. Thus ^^Shun." Then I and my brethren stood 
upon our feet, our hands to our sides. Thus.' 

' Even so. And what was thy mother 1 ' 

'A woman of the hills. We be Lepchas of Darjeeling, but 
me they call an outlander because my hair is as thou seest.' 



NAMGAY DOOLA 135 

The Thibetan woman, his wife, touched hitn on the arm 
gently. The long parley outside the fort had lasted far 
into the day. It was now close upon twilight — the hour 
of the Angelus. Very solemnly, the red-headed brats rose 
from the floor and formed a semicircle. Namgay Doola 
laid his gun against the wall, lighted a little oil lamp, and 
set it before a recess in the wall. Pulling aside a curtain 
of dirty cloth he revealed a worn brass crucifix leaning 
against the helmet-badge of a long forgotten East India 
regiment. * Thus did my father,' he said, crossing himself 
clumsily. The wife and children followed suit. Then all 
together they struck up the wailing chant that I heard on 
the hillside — 

Dir han^ mard-i-yemen dir 

To weeree ala gee. 

I was puzzled no longer. Again and again they crooned 
as if their hearts would break, their version of the chorus 
of the Wearing of the Green — 

They're hanging men and women too. 
For the wearing of the green. 

A diabolical inspiration came to me. One of the brats, a 
boy about eight years old, was watching me as he sang. 
I pulled out a rupee, held the coin between finger and 
thumb, and looked — only looked — at the gun against the 
wall. A grin of brilliant and perfect comprehension over- 
spread the feice of the child. Never for an instant stopping 
the song he held out his hand for the money, and then slid 
the gun to my hand. I might have shot Namgay Doola 
as he chanted. But I was satisfied The blood-instinct 
of the race held true. Namgay Doola drew the curtain 
across the recess. Angelus was over. 

*Thus my father sang. There was much more, but I 
have forgotten, and I do not know the purport of these 
words, but it may be that the Grod will understand. I am 
not of this people, and I will not pay revenue.' 



136 THE KIPLING READER 

'And why?' 

Again that soul-compelling grin. 'What occupation 
would be to me between crop and crop 1 It is better than 
scaring bears. But these people do not understand.' He 
picked the masks from the floor, and looked in my face as 
simply as a child. 

'By what road didst thou attain knowledge to make 
these devilries 1 ' I said, pointing. 

'I cannot telL I am but a Lepcha of Darjeeling, and 
yet the stufif ' 

* Which thou hast stolen.' 

'Nay, surely. Did I steal? I desired it so. The stuff 
— the stuff — what else should I have done with the stuff?* 
He twisted the velvet between his fingers. 

'But the sin of maiming the cow — consider that? ' 

* That is true ; but oh, Sahib, that man betrayed me and 
I had no thought — but the heifer's tail waved in the moon- 
light and I had my knife. What else should I have done ? 
The tail came off ere I was aware. Sahib, thou knowest 
more than I.' 

' That is true,' said I. ' Stay within the door. I go to 
speak to the King.' 

The population of the State were ranged on the hillsides. 
I went forth and spoke to the King. 

'Oh King,' said I. 'Touching this man there be two 
courses open to thy wisdom. Thou canst either hang him 
from a tree, he and his brood, till there remains no hair 
that is red within the land.' 

'Nay,' said the King. 'Why should I hurt the little 
children ? ' 

They had poured out of the hut door and were making 
plump obeisance to everybody. Namgay Doola waited 
with his gun across his arm. 

'Or thou canst, discarding the impiety of the cow- 
maiming, raise him to honour in thy Army. He comes of 



NAMGAY DOOLA 137 

a race that will not pay revenue. A red flame is in his 
blood which comes out at the top of his head in that 
glowing hair. Make him chief of the Army. Give him 
honour as may befall, and full allowance of work, but look 
to it, O King, that neither he nor his hold a foot of earth 
from thee henceforward. Feed him with words and favour, 
and also liquor from certain bottles that thou knowest of, 
and he will be a bulwark of defence. But deny him even a 
tufb of grass for his own. This is the nature that God has 
given him. Moreover he has brethren ' 

The State groaned unanimously. 

*But if his brethren come, they will surely fight with 
each other till they die ; or else the one will always give 
information concerning the other. Shall he be of thy 
Army, O King ? Choose.' 

The King bowed his head, and I said, *Come forth, 
Namgay Doola, and command the King's Army. Thy 
name shall no more be Namgay in the mouths of men, but 
Patsay Doola, for as thou hast said, I know.' 

Then Namgay Doola, new christened Patsay Doola, son 
of Timlay Doola, which is Tim Doolan gone very wrong 
indeed, clasped the King's feet, cuffed the standing Army, 
and hurried in an agony of contrition from temple to 
temple, making offerings for the sin of cattle maiming. 

And the King was so pleased with my perspicacity that 
he offered to sell me a village for twenty pounds sterling. 
But I buy no villages in the Himalayas so long as one red 
head flares between the tail of the heaven-climbing glacier 
and the dark birch forest. 

I know that breed. 



A GEEM-DESTROYER. 

Pleasant it is for the Little Tin Grods 

When great Jove nods ; 
But Little Tin Gods make their little mistakes 
Jn missing the hour when great Jove wakes. 

As a general rule, it is inexpedient to meddle with questions 
of State in a land where men are highly paid to work them 
out for you. This tale is a justifiable exception. 

Once in every five years, as you know, we indent for a 
new Viceroy ; and each Viceroy imports, with the rest of 
his baggage, a Private Secretary, who may or may not be 
the real Viceroy, just as Fate ordains. Fate looks after the 
Indian Empire because it is so big and so helpless. 

There was a Viceroy once who brought out with him a 

turbulent Private Secretary — a hard man with a soft manner 

and a morbid passion for work. This Secretary was called 

Wonder— John Fennil Wonder. The Viceroy possessed no 

name — nothing but a string of counties and two-thirds of 

the alphabet after them. He said in confidence, that he 

was the electro-plated figurehead of a golden administration, 

and he watched in a dreamy, amused way Wonder's attempts 

to draw matters which were entirely outside his province 

into his OAvn hands. 'When we are all cherubims together,* 

said His Excellency once, 'my dear, good friend Wonder 

will head the conspiracy for plucking out Grabriel's tail 

feathers or stealing Peter's keys. Then I shall report him.' 

138 



A GERM-DESTROYER 139 

But, though the Viceroy did nothing to check Wonder's 
officiousness, other people said unpleasant things. May be 
the Members of Council began it; but finally all Simla 
agreed that there was *too much Wonder and too little 
Viceroy' in that rule. Wonder was always quoting 'His 
Excellency.' It was 'His Excellency this,' 'His Excellency 
that,' *In the opinion of His Excellency,' and so on. The 
Viceroy smiled; but he did not heed. He said that, so long 
as his old men squabbled with his 'dear, good Wonder,' they 
might be induced to leave the Immemorial East in peace. 

' No wise man has a Policy, ' said the Viceroy. 'A Policy 
is the blackmail levied on the Fool by the Unforeseen. 
I am not the former, and I do not believe in the latter.' 

I do not quite see what this means, unless it refers to an 
Insurance Policy. Perhaps it was the Viceroy's way of 
saying, 'Lie low.' 

That season came up to Simla one of these crazy people 
with only a single idea. These are the men who make 
things move ; but they are not nice to talk to. This man's 
name was Mellish, and he had lived for fifteen years on 
land of his own, in Lower Bengal, studying cholera. He 
held that cholera was a germ that propagated itself as it 
flew through a muggy atmosphere; and stuck in the 
branches of trees like a wool-flake. The germ could be 
rendered sterile, he said, by ^ * Mellish's Own Invincible 
Fumigatory' — a heavy violet-black powder — 'the result of 
fifteen years' scientific investigation. Sir ! ' 

Inventors seem very much alike as a caste. They talk 
loudly, especially about * conspiracies of monopolists' ; they 
beat upon the table with their fists ; and they secrete frag- 
ments of their inventions about their persons. 

Mellish said that there was a Medical ' Ring ' at Simla, 
headed by the Surgeon-General, who was in league, 
apparently, with all the Hospital Assistants in the Empire. 

I forget exactly how he proved it, but it had something 



140 THE KIPLING READER 

to do with * skulking up to the Hills ' ; and what Mellish 
wanted was the independent evidence of the Viceroy — 
* Steward of our Most Gracious Majesty the Queen, Sir.* 
So Mellish went up to Simla, with eighty-four pounds of 
Fumigatory in his trunk, to speak to the Viceroy and to 
show him the merits of the invention. 

But it is easier to see a Viceroy than to talk to him, 
unless you chance to be as important as Mellishe of Madras. 
He was a six-thousand-rupee man, so great that his 
daughters never 'married.' They * contracted alliances.' 
He himself was not paid. He ' received emoluments,' and 
his journeys about the country were * tours of observation.' 
His business was to stir up the people in Madras with a 
long pole — as you stir up tench in a pond — and the people 
had to come up out of their comfortable old ways and gasp 
— * This is Enlightenment and Progress. Isn't it fine ! * 
Then they give Mellishe statues and jasmine garlands, in 
the hope of getting rid of him. 

Mellishe came up to Simla ' to confer with the Viceroy.' 
That was one of his perquisites. The Viceroy knew noth- 
ing of Mellishe except that he was * one of those middle- 
class deities who seem necessary to the spiritual comfort of 
this Paradise of the Middle-classes,' and that, in all proba- 
bility he had 'suggested, designed, founded, and endowed 
all the pubHo institutions in Madras.' Which proves that 
His Excellency, though dreamy, had experience of the 
ways of six-thousand-rupee men. 

MeUishe's name was E. Mellishe, and Mellish's was E. S. 
Mellish, and they were both staying at the same hotel, and 
the Fate that looks after the Indian Empire ordained that 
Wonder should blunder and drop the final * « ' ; that the 
Chaprassi should help him, and that the note which ran — 

Deas Mb, Mellish,— Can you set aside your other engagements, 
and lunch with us at two to-morrow ? His Excellency has an hour 
at your disposal then, 



A GERM-DESTROYER 141 

should be given to Mellisli with the Fumigatory. He 
nearly wept with pride and delight, and at the appointed 
hour cantered to Peterhoff, a big paper-bag full of the 
Fumigatory in his coat-tail pockets. He had his chance, 
and he meant to make the most of it. Mellishe of Madras 
had been so portentously solenm about his 'conference,' 
that Wonder had arranged for a private tiflin, — no 
A.-D.-C.'s, no Wonder, no one but the Viceroy, who said 
plaintively that he feared being left alone with unmuzzled 
autocrats like the great Mellishe of Madras. 

But his guest did not bore the Viceroy. On the con- 
trary, he amused him. Mellish was nervously anxious to 
go straight to his Fumigatory, and talked at random until 
tiflBn was over and His Excellency asked him to smoke. 
The Viceroy was pleased with Mellish because he did not 
talk *shop.' 

As soon as the cheroots were lit, Mellish spoke like 
a man; beginning with his cholera-theory, reviewing 
his fifteen years* * scientific labours,' the machinations 
of the 'Simla Ring,* and the excellence of his Fumiga- 
tory, while the Viceroy watched him between half- 
shut eyes and thought — ' Evidently this is the wrong tiger ; 
but it is an original animal.' Mellish's hair was standing 
on end with excitement, and he stammered. He began 
groping in his coat-tails and, before the Viceroy knew what 
was about to happen, he had tipped a bagful of his powder 
into the big silver ash-tray. 

* J-j-judge for yourself, Sir,' said Mellish. * Y' Excellency 
shall judge for yourself! Absolutely infellible, on my 
honour.' 

He plunged the lighted end of his cigar into the powder, 
which began to smoke like a volcano, and send up fet, 
greasy wreaths of copper-coloured smoke. In five seconds 
the room was filled with a most pungent and sickening 
stench— a reek that took fierce hold of the trap of your wind- 



142 THE KIPLING EEADER 

pipe and shut it. The powder hissed and fizzed, and sent 
out blue and green sparks, and the smoke rose till you 
could neither see, nor breathe, nor gasp. MelHsh, however, 
was used to it. 

'Nitrate of strontia,' he shouted; * baryta, bone-meal, 
etcetera ! Thousand cubic feet smoke per cubic inch. Not 
a germ could live — not a germ, Y' Excellency ! ' 

But His Excellency had fled, and was coughing at the 
foot of the stairs, while all Peterhoff hummed like a hive. 
Red Lancers came in, and the head Chaprassi who speaks 
English came in, and mace-bearers came in, and ladies ran 
downstairs screaming, *Fire'; for the smoke was drifting 
through the house and oozing out of the windows, and 
bellying along the verandahs, and wreathing and writhing 
across the gardens. No one could enter the room where 
Mellish was lecturing on his Fumigatory till that unspeak- 
able powder had burned itself out 

Then an Aide-de-Camp, who desired the V.C, rushed 
through the rolling clouds and hauled Mellish into the halL 
The Viceroy was prostrate with laughter, and could only 
waggle his hands feebly at Mellish, who was shaking a fresh 
bagful of powder at him. 

* Glorious ! Glorious ! ' sobbed His Excellency. * Not a 
germ, as you justly observe, could exist ! I can swear it. 
A^magnificent success ! ' 

Then he laughed till the tears came, and Wonder, who 
had caught the real Mellishe snorting on the Mall, entered 
and was deeply shocked at the scene. But the Viceroy 
was delighted, because he saw that Wonder would presently 
depart. Mellish with the Fumigatory was also pleased, 
for he felt that he had smashed the Simla Medical ' Ring.' 

• • • • • « 

Few men could tell a story like His Excellency when 
he took the trouble, and his account of 'my dear, good 
Wonder's friend with the powder' went the round of 



A GERM-DESTROYER US 

Simla, and flippant folk made "Wonder imhappy by their 
remarks. 

But His Excellency told the tale once too often — for 
Wonder. As he meant to do. It was at a Seepee Picnic. 
Wonder was sitting just behind the Viceroy. 

*And I really thought for a moment,' wound up His 
Excellency, *that my dear, good Wonder had hired an 
assassin to clear his way to the throne ! ' 

Every one laughed ; but there was a delicate sub-tinkle 
in the Viceroy's tone which Wonder understood. He found 
that his health was giving way ; and the Viceroy allowed 
him to go, and presented him with a flaming 'character' 
for use at Home among big people. 

* My fault entirely,' said His Excellency, in after seasons, 
with a twinkle in his eye. * My inconsistency must always 
have been distasteful to such a masterly man.' 



'TIGER-TIGER!' 

What of the hunting, hunter bold ? 

Brother, the, watch toas long and cold. 
What of the quarry ye went to kill ? 

Brother, he crops in the jungle still. 
Where is the power that made your pride ? 

Brother, it ebbsjrom my flank and side. 
Where is the haste that ye hurry by ? 

Brother, I go to my lair to die. 

When Mowgli left the wolfs cave after the fight with the 
Pack at the Council Rock, he went down to the ploughed 
lands where the villagers lived, but he would not stop 
there because it was too near to the jungle, and he knew 
that he had made at least one bad enemy at the Council. 
So he hurried on, keeping to the rough road that ran down 
the valley, and followed it at a steady jog-trot for nearly 
twenty miles, till he came to a country that he did not 
know. The valley opened out into a great plain dotted 
over with rocks and cut up by ravines. At one end stood 
a httle village, and at the other the thick jungle came 
down in a sweep to the grazing-grounds, and stopped there 
as though it had been cut off with a hoe. AH over the 
plain, cattle and buflfaloes were grazing, and when the little 
boys in charge of the herds saw Mowgli they shouted and 
ran away, and the yellow pariah dogs that hang about 
every Indian village barked. Mowgli walked on, for he 

144 



* TIGER-TIGER!' 145 

was feeling hungry, and when he came to the village gate 
he saw the big thombush that was drawn up before the 
gate at twilight, pushed to one side. 

*Umphr he said, for he had come across more than 
one such barricade in his night rambles after things to eat. 
• So men are afraid of the People of the Jungle here also.' 
He sat down by the gate, and when a man came out he 
stood up, opened his mouth, and pointed down it to show 
that he wanted food. The man stared, and ran back up 
the one street of the village, shouting for the priest, who 
was a big, fat man dressed in white, with a red and yellow 
mark on his forehead. The priest came to the gate, and 
with him at least a hundred people, who stared and talked 
and shouted and pointed at Mowgli. 

*They have no manners, these Men Folk,' said Mowgli 
to himself. * Only the gray ape would behave as they do.' 
So he threw back his long hair and frowned at the crowd. 

*What is there to be afraid ofV said the priest. 'Look 
at the marks on his arms and legs. They are the bites of 
wolves. He is but a wolf-child nm away from the jungle.' 

Of course, in playing together, the cubs had often nipped 
Mowgli harder than they intended, and there were white 
scars all over his arms and legs. But he would have been 
the last person in the world to call these bites, for he knew 
what real biting meant. 

^ArrS/ arri!^ said two or three women together. *To 
be bitten by wolves, poor child ! He is a handsome boy. 
He has eyes like red fire. By my honour, Messua, he is 
not unlike thy boy that was taken by the tiger.' 

*Let me look,' said a woman with heavy copper rings on 
her wrists and ankles, and she peered at Mowgli under the 
palm of her hand. * Indeed he is not. He is thinner, but 
he has the very look of my boy.' 

The priest was a clever man, and he knew that Messua 
was wife to the richest villager in the place. So he looked 



146 THE KIPLING READER 

up at the sky for a minute, and said solemnly : * What the 
jungle has taken the jungle has restored. Take the boy 
into thy house, my sister, and forget not to honour the 
priest who sees so far into the lives of men.' 

*By the Bull that bought me,' said Mowgli to himself, 
'but all this talking is like another looking over by the 
Pack ! Well, if I am a man, a man I must be.' 

The crowd parted as the woman beckoned Mowgli to her 
hut, where there was a red lacquered bedstead, a great 
earthen grain-chest with funny raised patterns on it, half 
a dozen copper cooking-pots, an image of a Hindu god in a 
little alcove, and on the wall a real looking-glass, such as 
they sell at the country fairs for eight cents. 

She gave him a long drink of milk and some bread, and 
then she laid her hand on his head and looked into his 
eyes; for she thought perhaps that he might be her real 
son come back from the jungle where the tiger had taken 
him. So she said : * Nathoo, O Nathoo ! ' Mowgli did not 
show that he knew the name. * Dost thou not remember 
the day when I gave thee thy new shoes ? ' She touched 
his foot, and it was almost as hard as horn. * No,' she said, 
sorrowfully; 'those feet have never worn shoes, but thou 
art very like my Nathoo, and thou shalt be my son.' 

Mowgli was uneasy, because he had never been under a 
roof before ; but as he looked at the thatch, he saw that he 
could tear it out any time if he wanted to get away, and 
that the window had no fastenings. * What is the good of 
a man,' he said to himself at last, *if he does not under- 
stand man's talk 1 Now I am as silly and dumb as a man 
would be with us in the jungle. I must speak their 
talk.' 

He had not learned while he was with the wolves to 
imitate the challenge of bucks in the jungle and the grunt 
of the little wild pig for fun. So, as soon as Messua pro- 
nounced a word Mowgli would imitate it almost perfectly, 



« TIGER-TIGER!' U7 

and before dark he had learned the name of many things in 
the hut. 

There was a difficulty at bedtime, because Mowgli would 
not sleep under anything that looked so like a panther-trap 
as that hut, and when they shut the door he went through 
the window. * Give him his will,' said Messua's husband. 
* Remember he can never till now have slept on a bed. If 
he is indeed sent in the place of our son he will not run 
away.' 

So Mowgli stretched himself in some long clean grass at 
the edge of the field, but before he had closed his eyes a 
soft gray nose poked him under the chin. 

* Phew 1 * said Gray Brother (he was the eldest of Mother 
Wolfs cubs). *This is a poor reward for following thee 
twenty miles. Thou smellest of wood-smoke and cattle — 
altogether like a man already. Wake, Little Brother; I 
bring news.' 

* Are all well in the jungle 1 ' said Mowgh, hugging him. 

* All except the wolves that were burned with the Red 
Flower. Now, listen. Shere Khan has gone away to hunt 
far off till his coat grows again, for he is badly singed. 
When he returns he swears that he will lay thy bones in 
the Waingunga.' 

* There are two words to that I also have made a little 
promise. But news is always good. I am tired to-night, — 
very tired with new things, Gray Brother, — but bring me 
the news always.' 

'Thou wilt not forget that thou art a wolf? Men will 
not make thee forget ? ' said Gray Brother, anxiously. 

' Never. I will always remember that I love thee and all 
in our cave ; but also I will always remember that I have 
been cast out of the Pack.' 

' And that thou may'st be cast out of another pack. Men 
are only men, Little Brother, and their talk is like the talk 
of frogs in a pond. When I come down here again, I will 



148 ' THE KIPLING READER 

wait for thee in the bamboos at the edge of the grazing- 
ground.' 

For three months after that night Mowgli hardly ever 
left the village gate, he was so busy learning the ways and 
customs of men. First he had to wear a cloth round him, 
which annoyed him horribly ; and then he had to learn 
about money, which he did not in the least understand, and 
about ploughing, of which he did not see the use. Then the 
little children in the village made him very angry. Luckily, 
the Law of the Jungle had taught him to keep his temper, 
for in the jungle, life and food depend on keeping your 
temper ; but when they made fun of him because he would 
not play games or fly kites, or because he mispronounced 
some word, only the knowledge that it was unsportsmanlike 
to kill little naked cubs kept him from picking them up and 
breaking them in two. He did not know his own strength 
in the least. In the jungle he knew he was weak compared 
with the beasts, but in the village, people said that he was 
as strong as a bull. He certainly had no notion of what 
fear was, for when the village priest told him that the god 
in the temple would be angry with him if he ate the priest's 
mangoes, he picked up the image, brought it over to the 
priest's house, and asked the priest to make the god angry 
and he would be happy to fight him. It was a horrible 
scandal, but the priest hushed it up, and Messua's husband 
paid much good silver to comfort the god. And Mowgli 
had not the faintest idea of the difl^erence that caste makes 
between man aud man. When the potter's donkey slipped 
in the clay-pit, Mowgli hauled it out by the tail, and helped 
to stack the pots for their journey to the market at Khan- 
hiwara. That was very shocking, too, for the potter is a 
low-caste man, and his donkey is worse. When the priest 
scolded him, Mowgli threatened to put him on the donkey, 
too, and the priest told Messua's husband that Mowgli had 
better be set to work as soon as possible j and the village 



'TIGER-TIGER!' 149 

headman told Mowgli that he would have to go out with 
the buffaloes next day, and herd them while they grazed. 
No one was more pleased than Mowgli; and that night, 
because he had been appointed a servant of the village, as it 
were, he went off to a circle that met every evening on a 
masonry platform under a great fig-tree. It was the village 
club, and the head-man and the watchman and the barber, 
who knew all the gossip of the village, and old Buldeo, the 
village hunter, who had a Tower musket, met and smoked. 
The monkeys sat and talked in the upper branches, and 
there was a hole under the platform where a cobra lived, 
and he had his little platter of milk every night because he 
was sacred ; and the old men sat around the tree and 
talked, and pulled at the big huqas (the water-pipes) till far 
into the night. They told wonderful tales of gods and men 
and ghosts ; and Buldeo told even more wonderful ones of 
the ways of beasts in the jungle, till the eyes of the children 
sitting outside the circle bulged out of their heads. Most 
of the tales were about animals, for the jungle was always 
at their door. The deer and the wild pig grubbed up their 
crops, and now and again the tiger carried off a man at twi- 
light, within sight of the village gates. 

Mowgli, who naturally knew something about what they 
were talking of, had to cover his face not to show that he 
was laughing, while Buldeo, the Tower musket across his 
knees, climbed on from one wonderful story to another, and 
Mowgli's shoulders shook. 

Buldeo was explaining how the tiger that had carried 
away Messua*s son was a ghost-tiger, and his body was 
inhabited by the ghost of a wicked, old money-lender, who 
had died some years ago. *And I know that this is true,' 
he said, * because Purun Dass always limped from the blow 
that he got in a riot when his account-books were burned, 
and the tiger that I speak of he limps, too, for the tracks of 
his pads are unequal' 



150 THE KIPLING READER 

* True, true, that must be the truth,' said the gray beards, 
nodding together. 

'Are all these tales such cobwebs and moontalk?' said 
Mowgli. * That tiger limps because he was born lame, as 
every one knows. To talk of the soul of a money-lender in 
a beast that never had the courage of a jackal is child's 
talk.' 

Buldeo was speechless with surprise for a moment, and 
the head-man stared. 

* Oho ! It is the jungle brat, is it ? ' said Buldeo. ' If 
thou art so wise, better bring his hide to Khanhiwara, for 
the Government has set a hundred rupees on his life. 
Better stiU, talk not when thy elders speak' 

Mowgli rose to go. 'All the evening I have lain here 
listening,' he called back, over his shoulder, 'and, except 
once or twice, Buldeo has not said one word of truth con- 
cerning the jungle, which is at his very doors. How then 
shall I believe the tales of ghosts and gods, and goblins 
which he says he has seen ? ' 

* It is full time that boy went to herding,' said the head- 
man, while Buldeo puffed and snorted at Mowgli's im- 
pertinence. 

The custom of most Indian villages is for a few boys to 
take the cattle and buffaloes out to graze in the early 
morning, and bring them back at night; and the very 
cattle that would trample a white man to death allow 
themselves to be banged and bullied and shouted at by 
children that hardly come up to their noses. So long as 
the boys keep with the herds they are safe, for not even 
the tiger will charge a mob of cattle. But if they straggle 
to pick flowers or hunt lizaxds, they are sometimes carried 
off. Mowgli went through the village street in the dawn, 
sitting on the back of Rama, the great herd bull ; and the 
slaty-blue buffaloes, with their long, backward-sweeping 
horns and savage eyes, rose out of their byres, one by one, and 



*TIGEK-TIGER!' 151 

followed him, and Mowgli made it very clear to the children 
with him that he* was the master. He beat the buffaloes 
with a long, polished bamboo, and told Kamya, one of the 
boys, to graze the cattle by themselves, while he went on 
with the bufiuloes, and to be very careful not to stray away 
from the herd. 

An Indian grazing-ground is all rocks, and scrubs, and 
tussocks, and little ravines, among which the herds scatter 
and disappear. The buffaloes generally keep to the pools 
and muddy places, where they lie wallowing or basking in 
the warm mud for hours. Mowgli drove them on to the 
edge of the plain where the Waingunga came out of the 
jungle ; then he dropped from Rama's neck, trotted off" to a 
bamboo clump and found Gray Brother. *Ah,' said Gray 
Brother, * I have waited here very many days. What is the 
meaning of this cattle-herding work ? ' 

* It is an order,' said Mowgli ; * I am a village herd for a 
while. What news of Shere Khan ? ' 

* He has come back to this country, and has waited here 
a long time for thee. Now he has gone off again, for the 
game is scarce. But he means to kill thee.' 

* Very good,' said Mowgli. * So long as he is away do 
thou or one of the four brothers sit on that rock, so that I 
can see thee as I come out of the village. When he comes 
back wait for me in the ravine by the dhak-tree in the 
centre of the plain. We need not walk into Shere Khan's 
mouth.' 

Then Mowgli picked out a shady place, and lay down and 
slept while the buffialoes grazed round him. Herding, in 
India is one of the laziest things in the world. The cattle 
move and crunch, and lie down, and move on again, and 
they do not even low. They only grunt, and the buffialoes 
very seldom say anything, but get down into the muddy 
pools one after another, and work their way into the mud 
till only their noses and staring china-blue eyes show above 



152 THE KIPLING READER 

the surface, and then they lie like logs. The sun makes 
the rocks dance in the heat, and the herd-children hear one 
kite (never any more) whistling almost out of sight over- 
head, and they know that if they died, or a cow died, that 
kite would sweep down, and the next kite miles away 
would see him drop and follow, and the next, and the next, 
and almost before they were dead there would be a score of 
hungry kites come out of nowhere. Then they sleep and 
wake and sleep again, and weave little baskets of dried 
grass and put grasshoppers in them, or catch two praying 
mantises and make them fight ; or string a necklace of red 
and black jungle-nuts, or watch a lizard basking on a rock, 
or a snake hunting a frog near the wallows. Then they 
sing long, long songs with odd native quavers at the end of 
them, and the day seems longer than most people's whole 
lives, and perhaps they make a mud castle with mud figures 
of men and horses and buffaloes, and put reeds into the 
men's hands, and pretend that they are kings and the 
figures are their armies, or that they are gods to be 
worshipped. Then evening comes and the children call, 
and the buffaloes lumber up out of the sticky mud with 
noises like gunshots going off one after the other, and they 
all string across the gray plain back to the twinkling village 
lights. 

Day after day Mowgli would lead the buffaloes out to 
their wallows, and day after day he would see Gray 
Brother's back a mile and a half away across the plain (so 
he knew that Shore Khan had not come back), and day 
after day he would lie on the grass listening to the noises 
round him, and dreaming of old days in the jungle. If 
Shere Khan had made a false step with his lame paw up in 
the jungles by the Waingunga, Mowgli would have heard 
him in those long still mornings. 

At last a day came when he did not see Gray Brother at 
the signal place, and he laughed and headed the buffaloes 



*TIGEErTIGERl' 163 

for the ravine by the o^Aa^-tree, which was all covered with 
golden-red flowers. There sat Gray Brother, every bristle 
on his back lifted. 

* He has hidden for a month to throw thee off thy guard. 
He crossed the ranges last night with Tabaqui, hot-foot on 
thy trail,' said the Wolf, panting. 

Mowgli frowned. * I am not afraid of Shere Khan, but 
Tabaqui is very cunning.* 

' Have no fear/ said Gray Brother, licking his lips a little. 
* I met Tabaqui in the dawn. Now he is telling all his 
wisdom to the kites, but he told me everything before I 
broke his back. Shere Khan's plan is to wait for thee at 
the village gate this evening — ^for thee and for no one 
else. He is lying up now, in the big dry ravine of the 
Waingunga.' 

*Has he eaten to-day, or does he hunt empty 1* said 
Mowgli, for the answer meant life and death to him. 

'He killed at dawn — a pig — and he has drunk too. 
Remember, Shere Khan could never fast, even for the sake 
of revenge,' 

* Oh ! fool, fool ! What a cub's cub it is ! Eaten and 
drunk too, and he thinks that I shall wait till he has slept 1 
Now, where does he lie up 1 If there were but ten of us 
we might pull him down as he lies. These buffaloes will 
not charge unless they wind him, and I cannot speak their 
language. Can we get behind his track so that they may 
smell it r 

' He swam far down the Waingunga to cut that off,' said 
Gray Brother. 

* Tabaqui told him that, I know. He would never have 
thought of it alone.' Mowgli stood with his finger in his 
mouth, thinking. *The big ravine of the Wamgunga. 
That opens out on the plain not half a mile from here. I 
can take the herd round through the jungle to the head of 
the ravine and then sweep down — but he would slink out 



164 THE KIPLING READER 

at the foot. We must block that end. Gray Brother, canst 
thou cut the herd in two for me 1 ' 

'Not I, perhaps — but I have brought a wise helper.' 
Gray Brother trotted off and dropped into a hole. Then 
there lifted up a huge gray head that Mowgli knew well, 
and the hot air was filled with the most desolate cry of all 
the jungle — the hunting-howl of a wolf at mid-day. 

* Atela ! Akela ! ' said Mowgli, clapping his hands. * I 
might have known that thou wouldst not forget me. We 
have a big work in hand. Cut the herd in two, Akela. 
Keep the cows and calves together, and the bulls and the 
plough-buffaloes by themselves.* 

The two wolves ran, ladies'-chain fashion, in and out of 
the herd, which snorted and threw up its head, and 
separated into two clumps. In one, the cow-buffaloes stood 
with their calves in the centre, and glared and pawed, 
ready, if a wolf would only stay still, to charge down and 
trample the life out of him. In the other, the bulls and 
the young bulls snorted and stamped, but though they 
looked more imposing they were much less dangerous, for 
they have no calves to protect. No six men could have 
divided the herd so neatly. 

* What orders ! ' panted Akela. * They are trying to join 
again.' 

Mowgli slipped on to Rama's back. 'Drive the bulls 
away to the left, Akela. Gray Brother, when we are gone, 
hold the cows together, and drive them into the foot of the 
ravine.' 

* How far ? ' said Gray Brother, panting and snapping. 

* Till the sides are higher than Shere Khan can jump,' 
shouted Mowgli. 'Keep them there till we come down.' 
The bulls swept off as Akela bayed, and Gray Brother 
stopped in front of the cows. They charged down on him, 
and he ran just before them to the foot of the ravine, as 
Akela drove the bulls far to the left. 



^TIGER-TIGER!' 155 

* Well done ! Another charge and they are fairly started. 
Careful, now — careful, Akela. A snap too much, and the 
bulls will charge. Hujah! This is wilder work than 
driving black-buck. Didst thou think these creatures 
could move so swiftly ? ' Mowgli called. 

'I have — have hunted these too in my time,' gasped 
Akela in the dust. * Shall I turn them into the jungle % ' 

*Ay! Turn. Swiftly turn them! Rama is mad with 
rage. Oh, if I could only tell him what I need of him to- 
day.' 

The bulls were turned, to the right this time, and crashed 
into the standing thicket. The other herd-children, watch- 
ing with the cattle half a mile away, hurried to the 
village as fast as their legs could carry them, crying that 
the buffaloes had gone mad and run away. But Mowgli's 
plan was simple enough. All he wanted to do was to make 
a big circle uphill and get at the head of the ravine, and 
then take the bulls down it and catch Shere Khan between 
the bulls and the cows ; for he knew that after a meal and 
a full drink Shere Khan would not be in any condition 
to fight or to clamber up the sides of the ravine. He was 
soothing the buffaloes now by voice, and Akela had 
dropped far to the rear, only whimpering once or twice to 
hurry the rear-guard. It was a long, long circle, for they 
did not wish to get too near the ravine and give Shere 
Khan warning. At last Mowgli rounded up the bewildered 
herd at the head of the ravine on a grassy patch that sloped 
steeply down to the ravine itseE From that height you 
could see across the tops of the trees down to the plain 
below ; but what Mowgli looked at was the sides of the 
ravine, and he saw with a great deal of satisfaction that 
they ran nearly straight up and down, while the vines and 
creepers that hung over them would give no foothold to a 
tiger who wanted to get out. 

*Let them breathe, Akela,' he said, holding up his hand.. 



156 THE KIPLING READER 

*They have not winded him yet. Let them breathe. I 
must tell Shere Khan who comes. We have him in a 
trap.' 

He put his hands to his mouth and shouted down the 
ravine, — it was almost like shouting down a tunnel, — and 
the echoes jumped from rock to rock. 

After a long time there came back the drawling, sleepy 
snarl of a full-fed tiger just wakened. 

'Who calls r said Shere Khan, and a splendid peacock 
fluttered up out of the ravine screeching. 

*I, MowglL Cattle thief, it is time to come to the 
Council Rock ! Down — hurry them down, Akela ! Down, 
Rama, down ! ' 

The herd paused for an instant at the edge of the slope, 
but Akela gave tongue in the full hunting yell, and they 
pitched over one after the other just as steamers shoot 
rapids, the sand and stones spurting up round them. 
Once started, there was no chance of stopping, and before 
they were fairly in the bed of the ravine Rama winded 
Shere ELhan and bellowed. 

* Ha ! Ha ! * said Mowgli, on his back. * Now thou 
knowest ! ' and the torrent of black horns, foaming muzzles, 
and staring eyes whirled down the ravine just as boulders 
go down in flood-time ; the weaker buffaloes being shouldered 
out to the sides of the ravine where they tore through the 
creepers. They knew what the business was before them 
— the terrible charge of the buffalo herd against which no 
tiger can hope to stand. Shere Khan heard the thunder of 
their hoofs, picked himself up and lumbered down the 
ravine, looking from side to side for some way of escape, 
but the walls of the ravine were straight and he had to hold 
on, heavy with his dinner and drink, willing to do any- 
thing rather than fight. The herd splashed through the 
pool he had just left, bellowing till the narrow cut rang. 
Mowgli heard an answering bellow from the foot of the 



* TIGER-TIGER!' 157 

ravine, saw Shere Khan turn (the tiger knew if the worst 
came to the worst it was better to meet the bulls than the 
cows with their calves), and then Rama tripped, and 
stumbled, and went on again over something soft, and, with 
the bulls at his heels, crashed full into the other herd, while 
the weaker buffaloes were lifted clean off their feet by the 
shock of the meeting. That charge carried both herds out 
into the plain, goring and stamping and snorting. Mowgli 
watched his time, and slipped off Rama's neck, laying about 
right and left with his stick. 

* Quick, Akela ! Break them up. Scatter them, or they 
will be fighting one another. Drive them away, Akela. 
Haiy Rama ! Eai ! hail hai/ my children. Softly now, 
softly ! It is aU over.' 

Akela and Gray Brother ran to and fro nipping the 
buffaloes' legs, and though the herd wheeled once to charge 
up the ravine again, Mowgli managed to turn Rama, and 
the others followed him to the wallows. 

Shere Khan needed no more trampling. He was dead, 
and the kites were coming for him already. 

* Brothers, that was a dog's death,' said MowgU, feeling 
for the knife he always carried in a sheath round his neck 
now that he lived with men. ' But he would never have 
shown fight. Wallah/ his hide will look well on the 
Council Rock. We must get to work swiftly.' 

A boy trained among men would never have dreamed of 
skinning a ten-foot tiger alone, but MowgU knew better 
than any one else how an animal's skin is fitted on, and 
how it can be taken off. But it was hard work, and 
Mowgli slashed and tore and grunted for an hour, while 
the wolves lolled out their tongues, or came forward and 
tugged as he ordered them. Presently a hand fell on his 
shoulder, and looking up he saw Buldeo with the Tower 
musket. The children had told the village about the 
buffalo stampede, and Buldeo went out angrily, only too 



158 THE KIPLING READER 

anxious to correct Mowgli for not taking better care of the 
herd. The wolves dropped out of sight as soon as they 
saw the man coming. 

* What is this folly ? ' said Buldeo, angrily. *To think that 
thou canst skin a tiger ! Where did the buffaloes kill him ? 
It is the Lame Tiger, too, and there is a hundred rupees on 
his head. Well, well, we will overlook thy letting the 
herd run off, and perhaps I wiU give thee one of the rupees 
of the reward when I have taken the skio to Kianhiwara. 
He fumbled in his waist-cloth for flint and steel, and 
stooped down to singe Shere Khan's whiskers. Most 
native hunters always singe a tiger's whiskers to prevent 
his ghost from haunting them. 

* Hum ! ' said Mowgli, half to himself as he ripped back 
the skin of a forepaw. *So thou wilt take the hide to 
Khanhiwara for the reward, and perhaps give me one rupee ? 
Now it is in my mind that I need the skin for my own use. 
Heh ! old man, take away that fire 1 * 

* What talk is this to the chief hunter of the village ? 
Thy luck and the stupidity of thy buffaloes have helped 
thee to this kill. The tiger has just fed, or he would have 
gone twenty miles by this time. Thou canst not even sldn 
him properly, little beggar brat, and forsooth I, Buldeo, 
must be told not to singe his whiskers. Mowgli, I will not 
give thee one anna of the reward, but only a very big beat- 
ing. Leave the carcass 1 ' 

' By the Bull that bought me,' said Mowgli, who was try- 
ing to get at the shoulder, ' must I stay babbling to an old 
ape all noon ? Here, Akela, this man plagues me.' 

Buldeo, who was still stooping over Shere Khan's head, 
found himself sprawling on the grass, with a gray wolf 
standing over him, while Mowgli went on skinning as though 
he were alone in all India. 

' Ye-es,' he said, between his teeth. * Thou art altogether 
right, Buldeo. Thou wilt never give me one anna of the 



' TIGER-TIGER !' 159 

reward. There is an old war between this lame tiger and 
myself—a very old war, and — I have one.' 

To do Buldeo justice, if he had been ten years younger 
he would have taken his chance with Akela had he met the 
wolf in the woods, but a wolf who obeyed the orders of this 
boy who had private wars with man-eating tigers was not a 
common animal. It was sorcery, magic of the worst kind, 
thought Buldeo, and he wondered whether the amulet round 
his neck would protect him. He lay as still as still, expect- 
ing every minute to see Mowgli turn into a tiger, too. 

* Maharaj ! Great Bang,' he said at last, in a husky 
whisper. 

* Yes,' said Mowgli, without turning his head, chuckling 
a little. 

* I am an old man. I did not know that thou wast any- 
thing more than a herdsboy. May I rise up and go away, 
or will thy servant tear me to pieces 1 ' 

* Go, and peace go with thee. Only, another time do not 
meddle with my game. Let him go, Akela.' 

Buldeo hobbled away to the village as fast as he could, 
looking back over his shoulder in case Mowgli should 
change into something terrible. When he got to the village 
he told a tale of magic and enchantment and sorcery that 
made the priest look very grave. 

Mowgli went on with his work, but it was nearly twilight 
before he and the wolves had drawn the great gray skin 
clear of the body. 

* Now we must hide this and take the buffaloes home ! 
Help me to herd them, Akela.' 

The herd rounded up in the misty twilight, and when 
they got near the village Mowgli saw lights, and heard the 
conches and bells in the temple blowing and banging. Half 
the village seemed to be waiting for him by the gate. ' That 
is because I have killed Shere Khan,' he said to himself; 
but a shower of stones whistled about his ears, and the 



160 THE KIPLING READER 

viUagers shouted : * Sorcerer ! Wolfs brat ! Jungle-demon ! 
Go away ! Get hence quickly, or the priest will turn thee 
into a wolf again. Shoot, Buldeo, shoot 1 ' 

The old Tower musket went off with a bang, and a young 
buffalo bellowed in pain. 

• More sorcery ! ' shouted the villagers. ' He can turn 
bullets. Buldeo, that was thy buffalo.' 

*Now what is this?' said Mowgli, bewildered, as the 
stones flew thicker. 

• They are not unlike the Pack, these brothers of thine,' 
said Akela, sitting down composedly. * It is in my head 
that, if bullets mean anything, they would cast thee out.' 

• Wolf I Wolfs cub ! Go away 1 ' shouted the priest, 
waving a sprig of the sacred iulsi plant. 

' Again ? Last time it was because I was a man. This 
time it is because I am a wolf. Let us go, Akela.' 

A woman — it was Messua — ran across to the herd, and 
cried : ' Oh, my son, my son ! They say thou art a sorcerer 
who can turn himself into a beast at will. I do not believe, 
but go away or they will kill thee. Buldeo says thou art a 
wizard, but I know thou hast avenged Nathoo's death.' 

*Come back, Messua ! * shouted the crowd. * Gome back, 
or we will stone thee.' 

Mowgli laughed a little short ugly laugh, for a stone had 
hit him in the mouth. * Run back, Messua. This is one of 
the foolish tales they tell under the big tree at dusk. I have 
at least paid for thy son's life. Farewell ; and run quickly, 
for I shall send the herd in more swiftly than their brick- 
bats. I am no wizard, Messua. Farewell ! ' 

' Now, once more, Akela,' he cried. * Bring the herd in.' 

The buffaloes were anxious enough to get to the village. 
They hardly needed Akela's yell, but charged through the 
gate like a whirlwind, scattering the crowd right and left. 

' Keep count ! ' shouted Mowgli, scornfully. * It may be 
that I have stolen one of them. Keep count, for I will do 



«TIGEErTIGER!' 161 

your herding no more. Fare you well, children of men, 
and thank Messua that I do not come in with my wolves 
and hunt you up and down your street.' 

He turned on his heel and walked away with the Lone 
Wolf; and as he looked up at the stars he felt happy. *No 
more sleeping in traps for me, Akela. Let us get Shere 
Khan's skin and go away. No; we will not hurt the 
village, for Messua was kind to me.' 

When the moon rose over the plain, making it look all 
milky, the horrified villagers saw Mowgli, with two wolves 
at his heels and a bundle on his head, trotting across at the 
steady wolf's trot that eats up the long miles like fire. 
Then they banged the temple bells and blew the conches 
louder than ever; and Messua cried, and Buldeo em- 
broidered the story of his adventures in the jungle, till he 
ended by saying that Akela stood up on his hind legs and 
talked like a man. 

The moon was just going down when Mowgli and the 
two wolves came to the hill of the Council Eock, and they 
stopped at Mother Wolf's cave. 

*They have cast me out from the man Pack, Mother,' 
shouted Mowgli, ' but I come with the hide of Shere Khan 
to keep my word.' Mother Wolf walked stiffly from the 
cave with the cubs behind her, and her eyes glowed as she 
saw the skin. 

* I told him on that day, when he crammed his head and 
shoulders into this cave, hunting for thy life, little frog — I 
told him that the hunter would be the hunted. It is well 
done.' 

* Little Brother, it is well done,' said a deep voice in the 
thicket. * We were lonely in the jungle without thee,' and 
Bagheera came running to Mowgli's bare feet. They 
clambered up the Council Eock together, and Mowgli 
spread the skin out on the flat stone where Akela used to 
sit, and pegged it down with four slivers of bamboo, and 

K.B. L 



162 THE KIPLING EEADER 

Akela lay down upon it, and called the old call to the 
Council, 'Look, look well, Wolves,' exactly as he had 
called when Mowgli was first brought there. 

Ever since Akela had been deposed, the Pack had been 
without a leader, hunting and fighting at their own pleasure. 
But they answered the call from habit ; and some of them 
were lame from the traps they had fallen into, and some 
limped from shot-wounds, and some were mangy from 
eating bad food, and many were missing ; but they came to 
the Council Rock, all that were left of them, and saw Shere 
Elian's striped hide on the rock, and the huge claws dang- 
ling at the end of the empty dangling feet 

*Look well, Wolves. Have I kept my word?' said 
MowgH ; and the wolves bayed Yes, and one tattered wolf 
howled : — 

*Lead us again, Akela. Lead us again, man-cub, 
for we be sick of this lawlessness, and we would be the Free 
People once more.' 

*Nay,' purred Bagheera, *that may not be. When ye 
are fall fed, the madness may come upon you again. Not 
for nothing are ye called the Free People. Ye fought for 
freedom, and it is yours. Eat it, O Wolves.' 

* Man-Pack and Wolf-Pack have cast me out/ said 
MowglL ' Now I will hunt alone in the jungle.' 

' And we will hunt with thee,' said the four cubs. 

So MowgU went away and hunted with the four cubs in 
the jungle from that day on. But he was not always alone, 
because, years afterward, he became a man and married. 

But thkt is a story for grown-ups. 



MOWGLrS SONG 

THAT HE SAJ^G AT THE COUNCIL ROCK WHEN HE DANCED 
ON SHERE khan's HIDE. 

The Song of Mowgli — I, Mowgli am singing. Let the 

jungle listen to the things I have done. 
Shere Klhan said he would kill — would kill ! At the gates 

in the twilight he would kill Mowgli, the Frog ! 
He ate and he drank. Drink deep, Shere Khan, for when 

wilt thou drink again ? Sleep and dream of the kill 
I am alone on the grazing-grounds. Gray Brother come to 

me ! Come to me, Lone Wolf, for there is hig game 

afoot! 
Bring up the great bull-buffaloes, the blue-skinned herd- 
bulls with the angry eyes. Drive them to and fro as 

I order. Sleepest thou still, Shere Khan ? Wake, O 

wake ! Here come I, and the bulls are behind. 
Eama the king of the buffaloes stamped with his foot. 

Waters of the Waingunga whither went Shere Khan ? 
He is not Sahi to dig holes, nor Mor, the Peacock, that he 

should fly. He is not Mang, the Bat, to hang in the 

branches. Little bamboos that creak together tell me 

where he ran ? 
Owl he is there. Ahool he is there. Under the feet of 

Kama lies the Lame One! Up, Shere Khan! Up 

and kill ! Here is meat 3 break the necks of the bulls. 
Hsh ! he is asleep. We will not wake him, for his strength 

is very great. The kites have come down to see it. 

The black ants have come up to know it. There is a 

great assembly in his honour. 
AUU ! I have no cloth to wrap me. The kites will see 

that I am naked. I am ashamed to meet all these 

people. 
Lend me thy coat, Shere Khan. Lend me thy gay striped 

coat that I may go to the Council Rock. 

183 



164 THE KIPLING READER 

By the Bull that bought me I made a promise — a Httle 

promise. Only thy coat is lacking before I keep my 

word. 
With the knife, with the knife that men use, with the knife 

of the hunter, I will stoop down for my gift 
Waters of the Waingunga, Shere Khan gives me his 

coat for the love that he bears me. Pull, Gray 

Brother ! 

Pull, Akela ! Heavy is the hide of Shere Khan. 
The Man Pack are angry. They throw stones and talk 

child's talk. My mouth is bleeding. Let me run 

away. 
Through the night, through the hot night, run swiftly with 

me, my brothers. We will leave the lights of the 

village and go to the low moon. 
Waters of the Waingunga, the Man Pack have cast me out. 

I did them no harm, but they were afraid of me. 

Why? 
Wolf Pack, ye have cast me out too. The Jungle is shut to 

me and the village gates are shut. Why? 
As Mang flies between the beasts and birds so fly I between 

the village and the Jungle. Why ? 
I dance on the hide of Shere Khan, but my heart is very 

heavy. My mouth is cut and wounded with the stones 

from the village, but my heart is very light, because I 

have come back to the Jungle. Why? 
These two things fight together in me as the snakes fight 

in the spring. The water comes out of my eyes ; yet 

I laugh while it falls. Why? 
I am two Mowglis, but the hide of Shere Khan is under 

my feet. 
All the Jungle knows that I have killed Shere Khan. 

Look, look well, O Wolves ! 
Ahae ! my heart is heavy with the things that I do not 

understand. 



TODS' AMENDMENT. 

The World hath set its heavy yoke 
Upon the old white-bearded folk 

Who strive to please the King. 
God's mercy is upon the young, 
Grod's wisdom in the baby tongue 

That fears not anything. 

The Parable of Chajju Bhagai. 

Now Tods' Mamma was a singularly charming woman, 
and every one in Simla knew Tods. Most men had saved 
him from death on occasions. He was beyond his ayah's 
control altogether, and perilled his life daily to find out 
what would happen if you pulled a Mountain Battery mule's 
tan. He was an utterly fearless young Pagan, about six 
years old, and the only baby who ever broke the holy calm 
of the Supreme Legislative Council. 

It happened this way : Tods' pet kid got loose, and fled 
up the hill, off the Boileaugunge Road, Tods after it, until 
it burst in to the Viceregal Lodge lawn, then attached to 
* Peterhoff.' The Council were sitting at the time, and the 
windows were open because it was warm. The Red Lancer 
in the porch told Tods to go away ; but Tods knew the 
Red Lancer and most of the Members of Council personally. 
Moreover, he had firm hold of the kid's collar, and was 
being dragged all across the flower-beds. ' Give my salaam 
to the long Coimcillor Sahib, and ask him to help me take 
Moti back ! ' gasped Tods. The Council heard the noise 

165 



166 THE KIPLING READER 

through the open windows ; and, after an interval, was seen 
the shocking spectacle of a Legal Member and a Lieutenant- 
Governor helping, under the direct patronage of a Com- 
mander-in-Chief and a Viceroy, one small and very dirty 
boy, in a sailor's suit and a tangle of brown hair, to coerce 
a lively and rebellious kid. They headed it off down the 
path to the Mall, and Tods went home in triumph and told 
his Mamma that all the Councillor Sahibs had been helping 
him to catch Moti. Whereat his Mamma smacked Tods for 
interfering with the administration of the Empire; but 
Tods met the Legal Member the next day, and told him in 
confidence that if the Legal Member ever wanted to catch 
a goat, he. Tods, would give him all the help in his power. 
'Thank you. Tods,' said the Legal Member. 

Tods was the idol of some eighty jhampanis, and half as 
many saises. He saluted them all as *0 Brother.' It never 
entered his head that any living human being could disobey 
his orders ; and he was the buffer between the servants and 
his Mamma's wrath. The working of that household turned 
on Tods, who was adored by every one from the dhoby to 
the dog-boy. Even Futteh Khan, the villainous loafer Jchit 
from Mussoorie, shirked risking Tods' displeasure for fear 
his co-mates should look down on him. 

So Tods had honour in the land from Boileaugunge to 
Chota Simla, and ruled justly according to his lights. Of 
course, he spoke Urdu, but he had also mastered many 
queer side-speeches like the chotee holee of the women, and 
held grave converse with shopkeepers and Hill-coolies alike. 
He was precocious for his age, and his mixing with natives 
had taught him some of the more bitter truths of life : the 
meanness and the sordidness of it. He used, over his bread 
and milk, to deliver solemn and serious aphorisms, translated 
from the vernacular into the English, that made his Mamma 
jump and vow that Tods miist go Home next hot weather. 

Just when Tods was in the bloom of his power, the 



TODS' AMENDMENT 167 

Supreme Legislature were hacking out a Bill for the Sub- 
Montane Tracts, a revision of the then Act, smaller than 
the Pimjab Land Bill, but afifecting a few hundred thousand 
people none the less. The Legal Member had built, and 
bolstered, and embroidered, and amended that Bill till it 
looked beautiful on paper. Then the Council began to 
settle what they called the 'minor details.' As if any 
Englishman legislating for natives knows enough to know 
which are the minor and which are the major points, from 
the native point of view, of any measure ! That Bill was a 
triumph of * safe-guarding the interests of the tenant.' One 
clause provided that land should not be leased on longer 
terms than five years at a stretch ; because, if the landlord 
had a tenant bound down for, say, twenty years, he would 
squeeze the very life out of him. The notion was to keep 
up a stream of independent cultivators in the Sub-Montane 
Tracts ; and ethnologically and politically the notion was 
correct. The only drawback was that it was altogether 
wrong. A native's life in India implies the life of his son. 
Wherefore, you cannot legislate for one generation at a 
time. You must consider the next from the native point 
of view. Curiously enough, the native now and then, and 
in Northern India more particularly, hates being over- 
protected against himself. There was a Naga Village once, 
where they lived on dead amd, buried Commissariat mules, 
. . . But that is another story. 

For many reasons, to be explained later, the people con- 
cerned objected to the Bill. The Native Member in 
Council knew as much about Punjabis as he knew about 
Charing Cross. He had said in Calcutta that * the Bill was 
entirely in accord with the desires of that large and 
important class, the cultivators ' ; and so on, and so on. 
The Legal Member's knowledge of natives was limited to 
English-speaking Durbaris, and his own red chaprassiSy the 
Sub-Montane Tracts concerned no one in particular, the 



168 THE KIPLINGl READER 

Deputy Commissioners were a good deal too driven to 
make representations, and the measure was one which 
dealt with small land-holders only. Nevertheless, the 
Legal Member prayed that it might be correct, for he was 
a nervously conscientious man. He did not know that no 
man can tell what natives think unless he mixes with them 
with the varnish off. And not always then. But he did 
the best he knew. And the measure came up to the 
Supreme Council for the final touches, while Tods patrolled 
the Burra Simla Bazar in his morning rides, and played 
with the monkey belonging to Ditta MuU, the bunniay and 
listened, as a child listens, to all the stray talk about this 
new freak of the L(nd SaMJfs. 

One day there was a dinner-party at the house of Tods' 
Mamma, and the Legal Member came. Tods was in bed, 
but he kept awake tiU he heard the bursts of laughter 
from the men over the coffee. Then he paddled out in his 
little red flannel dressing-gown and his night-suit, and took 
refuge by the side of his father, knowing that he would not 
be sent back. ' See the miseries of having a family ! ' said 
Tods' father, giving Tods three prunes, some water in a 
glass that had been used for claret, and telling him to sit 
still. Tods sucked the prunes slowly, knowing that he 
would have to go when they were finished, and sipped the 
pink water like a man of the world, as he listened to the 
conversation. Presently, the Legal Member, talking * shop ' 
to the Head of a Department, mentioned his Bill by its 
full name — *The Sub-Montane Tracts Ryotwary Revised 
Enactment.' Tods caught the one native word, and lifting 
up his small voice said — 

* Oh, I know all about that ! Has it been munamvUed 
yet, Councillor Sahib 1 ' 

* How much ? ' said the Legal Member. 

^ Murramutted — mended. — Put theekj you know — made 
nice to please Ditta Mull ! ' 



TODS' AMENDMENT 169 

The Legal Member left his place and moved up next to 
Tods. 

* What do you know about ryotwari, little man ? * he said. 
' I'm not a little man, I'm Tods, and I know all about it. 

Ditta Mull, and Choga Lall, and Amir Nath, and — oh, 
lakhs of my friends tell me about it in the bazars when 
I talk to them.* 

* Oh, they do— do they % What do they say. Tods ? ' 
Tods tucked his feet under his red flannel dressing-gown 

and said — 'I must/w^.' 

The Legal Member waited patiently. Then Tods, with 
infinite compassion — 

* You don't speak my talk, do you, Councillor Sahih ? ' 
*Noj I am sorry to say I do not,' said the Legal 

Member. 

* Very weU,' said Tods, *I m\}stfinh in English.* 

He spent a minute putting his ideas in order, and began 
very slowly, translating in his mind from the vernacular to 
English, as many Anglo-Indian children do. You must 
remember that the Legal Member helped him on by 
questions when he halted, for Tods was not equal to the 
sustained flight of oratory that follows. 

* Ditta MuU says, " This thing is the talk of a child, and 
was made up by fools." But / don't think you are a fool, 
Councillor Sdhih; said Tods hastily. * You caught my goat. 
This is what Ditta Mull says— "I am not a fool, and why 
should the Sirkar say I am a child? I can see if the land 
is good and if the landlord is good. K I am a fool, the sin 
is upon my own head. For five years I take my ground 
for which I have saved money, and a wife I take too, and a 
little son is bom." Ditta Mull has one daughter now, but 
he says he will have a son soon. And he says, " At the end 
of five years, by this new hundobust, I must go. If I do not 
go, I must get fresh seals and takbus-stami^s on the papers, 
perhaps in the middle of the harvest, and to go to the law- 



170 THE KIPLING READER 

courts once is wisdom, but to go twice is Jehannum." *That 
is quite true,' explained Tods gravely. * All my friends say 
so. And Ditta Mull says, " Always fresh takkus and paying 
money to vakils and chaprassis and law-courts every five 
years, or else the landlord makes me go. Why do I want 
to go ? Am I a fool ? If I am a fool and do not know, 
after forty years, good land when I see it, let me die ! But 
if the new bundobiisi says for fifteen years, that it is good 
and wise. My little son is a man, and I am humt, and he 
takes the ground or another ground, paying only once for 
the takkusstsLmps on the papers, and his little son is bom, 
and at the end of fifteen years is a man too. But what 
profit is there in five years and fresh papers ? Nothing but 
dikh, trouble, dikh. We are not young men who take these 
lands, but old ones — not farmers, but tradesmen with a 
little money — and for fifteen years we shall have peaca 
Nor are we children that the Sirkar should treat us so." ' 

Here Tods stopped short, for the whole table were 
listening. The Legal Member said to Tods, ' Is that all 1 ' 

' All I can remember,' said Tods. * But you should see 
Ditta Mull's big monkey. It's just like a Councillor Sahib.* 

' Tods ! Go to bed ! ' said his father. 

Tods gathered up his dressing-gown tail and departed. 

The Legal Member brought his hand down on the table 
with a crash — *By Jove!' said the Legal Member, 'I believe 
the boy is right. The short tenure is the weak point.' 

He left early, thinking over what Tods had said. Now, 
it was obviously impossible for the Legal Member to play 
with a bunnia's monkey, by way of getting understanding ; 
but he did better. He made inquiries, always bearing in 
mind the fact that the real native — not the hybrid, 
University-ti-ained mule — is as timid as a colt, and little by 
little, he coaxed some of the men whom the measure 
concerned most intimately to give in their views, which 
squared very closely with Tods' evidence. 



TODS' AMENDMENT 171 

So the Bill was amended in that clause ; and the Legal 
Member was fiUed with an imeasy suspicion that Native 
Members represent very little except the Orders they carry 
on their bosoms. But he put the thought from Tiim as 
illiberal He was a most liberal man. 

After a time the news spread through the bazars that 
Tods had got the BiU recast in the tenure-clause, and if 
Tods' Mamma had not interfered, Tods would have made 
himself sick on the baskets of fruit and pistachio nuts and 
Cabuli grapes and almonds that crowded the verandah. 
Till he went Home, Tods ranked some few degrees before 
the Viceroy in popular estimation. But for the little life 
of him Tods could not understand why. 

In the Legal Member^s private-paper-box still lies the 
rough draft of the Sub-Montane Tracts Ryotvxiry Revised 
Enactment; and opposite the twenty-second clause, 
pencilled in blue chalk, and signed by the Legal Member 
are the words ' Tods' AmendmenV 



THE STORY OF MUHAMMAD DIN 

Who is the happy man ? He that sees in his own house at home, 
little children crowned with dust, leaping and falling and crying. — 
Munichandray translated by Professor Peterson. 

The polo-ball was an old one, scarred, chipped, and dinted. 
It stood on the mantelpiece among the pipe-stems which 
Imam Din, hhitmatgar^ was cleaning for me. 

* Does the Heaven-born want this ball ? ' said Imam Din 
deferentially. 

The Heaven-bom set no particular store by it; but of 
what use was a polo ball to a khitmatgar ? 

' By Your Honour's favour, I have a little son. He has 
seen this ball, and desires it to play with, I do not want 
it for myself.' 

No one would for an instant accuse portly old Imam Din 
of wanting to play with polo-balls. He carried out the 
battered thing into the verandah ; and there followed a 
hurricane of joyful squeaks, a patter of small feet, and the 
thud-thvd-thud of the ball rolling along the ground. Evi- 
dently the little son had been waiting outside the door to 
secure his treasure. But how had he managed to see that 
polo-ball ? 

172 



THE STORY OF MUHAMMAD DIN 173 

Next day, coming back from office half an hour earlier 
than usual, I was aware of a small figure in the dining-room 
— a tiny, plump figure in a ridiculously inadequate shirt 
which came, perhaps, halfway down the tubby stomach. It 
wandered round the room, thumb in mouth, crooning to 
itself as it took stock of the pictures. Undoubtedly this 
was the * little son.' 

He had no business in my room, of course ; but was so 
deeply absorbed in his discoveries that he never noticed me 
in the doorway. I stepped into the room and startled him 
nearly into a fit. He sat down on the ground with a gasp. 
His eyes opened, and his mouth followed suit. I knew 
what was coming, and fled, followed by a long, dry howl 
which reached the servants' quarters far more quickly than 
any command of mine had ever done. In ten seconds 
Imam Din was in the dining-room. Then despairing sobs 
arose, and I returned to find Imam Din admonishing the 
small sinner who was using most of his shirt as a handker- 
chief. 

* This boy,' said Imam Din judicially, ' is a budmash — a 
big hudmash. He will, without doubt, go to the jail-Jchana 
for his behaviour.' Renewed yells from the penitent, and 
an elaborate apology to myself from Imam Din. 

*TeU the baby,' said I, 'that the Sahib is not angry, and 
take him away.' Imam Din conveyed my forgiveness to 
the offender, who had now gathered all his shirt round his 
neck, stringwise, and the yell subsided into a sob. The two 
set off for the door. *His name,' said Imam Din, as though 
the name were part of the crime, ' is Muhammad Din, and 
he is a budmash.' Freed from present danger, Muhammad 
Din turned round in his father's arms, and said gravely, ' It 
is true that my name is Muhammad Din, Tahiby but I am 
not a budmash. I am a man ! ' 

From that day dated my acquaintance with Muhanmiad 
Din. Never again did he come into my dining-room, but 



174 THE KIPLING READER 

on the neutral ground of the garden we greeted each other 
with much state, though our conversation was confined to 
• Talaam, Tahib ' from his side, and ' Salaam, Muhammad 
Din ' from mine. Daily on my return from office, the little 
white shirt and the fat little body used to rise from the 
shade of the creeper-covered trellis where they had been hid ; 
and daily I checked ,my horse here, that my salutation 
might not be slurred over or given unseemly. 

Muhammad Din never had any companions. He used to 
trot about the compound, in and out of the castor-oil bushes, 
on mysterious errands of his own. One day I stumbled 
upon some of his handiwork fer down the grounds. He 
had half buried the polo-ball in dust, and stuck six shrivelled 
old marigold flowers in a circle .round it. Outside that circle 
again was a rude square, traced out in bits of red brick 
alternating with fragments of broken china; the whole 
bounded by a little bank of dust. The water-man from the 
well-curb put in a plea for the small architect, saying that it 
was only the play of a baby and did not much disfigure my 
garden. 

Heaven knows that I had no intention of touching the 
child's work then or later; but, that evening, a stroll 
through the garden brought me unawares full on it; so 
that I trampled, before I knew, marigold-heads, dust-bank, 
and fragments of broken soap dish into confusion past all 
hope of mending. Next morning, I came upon Muhammad 
Din crying softly to himself over the ruin I had wrought. 
Some one had cruelly told him that the Sahib was very angry 
with him for spoiling the garden, and had scattered his 
rubbish, using bad language the while. Muhanmiad Din 
laboured for an hour at effacing every trace of the dust 
bank and pottery fragments, and it was with a tearful and 
apologetic face that he said, ' Talaarrij Tahib,' when I came 
home from office. A hasty inquiry resulted in Imam Din 
informing Muhammad Din that, by my singular favour, he 



THE STORY OF MUHAMMAD DIN 175 

was permitted to disport himself as he pleased. Whereat 
the child took heart and fell to tracing the ground-plan of 
an edifice which was to eclipse the marigold-polo-ball 
creation. 

For some months the chubby little eccentricity revolved 
in his humble orbit among the castor-oil bushes and in the 
dust; always fashioning magnificent palaces from stale 
flowers thrown away by the bearer, smooth water-worn 
Peebles, bits of broken glass, and feathers pulled, I fancy, 
from my fowls — ^always alone, and always crooning to 
himself. 

A gaily-spotted sea-shell was dropped one day close to 
the last of his little buildings ; and I looked that Muham- 
mad Din should build something more than ordinarily 
splendid on the strength of it. Nor was I disappointed. 
He meditated for the better part of an hour, and his croon- 
ing rose to a jubilant song. Then he began tracing in the 
dust. It would certainly be a wondrous palace, this one, 
for it was two yards long and a yard broad in ground-plan. 
But the palace was never completed. 

Next day there was no Muhammad Din at the head of 
the carriage-drive, and no ^Talaam, Tahib^ to welcome my 
return. I had grown accustomed to the greeting, and its 
omission troubl^ me. Next day Imam Din told me that 
the child was suffering slightly from fever and needed 
quinine. He got the medicine, and an English Doctor. 

* They have no stamina, these brats,' said the Doctor, as 
he left Imam Din's quarters. 

A week later, though I would have given much to have 
avoided it, I met on the road to the Mussulman burying- 
ground Imam Din, accompanied by one other friend, carry- 
ing in his arms, wrapped in a white cloth, all that was left 
of little Muhammad Din, 



THE riNANCES OF THE GODS 

The evening meal was ended in Dhunni Bhagat's Chubara, 
and the old priests were smoking or counting their beads. 
A little naked child pattered in, with its mouth wide open, 
a handful of marigold flowers in one hand, and a lump of 
conserved tobacco in the other. It tried to kneel and make 
obeisance to Grobind, but it was so fat that it fell forward 
on its shaven head, and rolled on its side, kicking and 
gasping, while the marigolds tumbled one way and the 
tobacco the other. Grobind laughed, set it up again, and 
blessed the marigold flowers as he received the tobacco. 

*From my father,' said the child. *He has the fever, 
and cannot come. Wilt thou pray for him, father ? ' 

'Surely, littlest; but the smoke is on the ground, and 
the night-chill is in the air, and it is not good to go abroad 
naked in the autumn.' 

* I have no clothes,' said the child, ' and all to-day I have 
been carrying cow-dung cakes to the bazar. It was very 
hot, and I am very tired.' It shivered a little, for the 
twilight was cool. 

Gobind lifted an arm under his vast tattered quilt of 
many colours, and made an inviting little nest by his side. 
The child crept in, and Gobind filled his brass-studded 
leather waterpipe with the new tobacco. When I came to 
the Chubara the shaven head with the tuft atop, and the 
beady black eyes looked out of the folds of the quilt as 

176 



THE FINANCES OF THE GODS 177 

a squirrel looks out from his nest, and Gobind was smiling 
while the child played with his beard. 

I would have said something friendly, but remembered 
in time that if the child fell ill afterwards I should be 
credited with the Evil Eye, and that is a horrible possession. 

* Sit thou still, Thumbling,' I said, as it made to get up 
and run away. 'Where is thy slate, and why has the 
teacher let such an evil character loose on the streets when 
there are no police to protect us weaklings? In which 
ward dost thou try to break thy neck with flying kites 
from the house-top ? ' 

* Nay, Sahib, nay,' said the child, burrowing its face into 
Gobind's beard, and twisting uneasily. 'There was a 
holiday to day among the schools, and I do not always fly 
kites. I play ker-li-Mt like the rest.' 

Cricket is the national game among the school-boys of 
the Punjab, from the naked hedge-school children, who use 
an old kerosine-tin for wicket, to the B.A.'s of the Uni- 
versity, who compete for the Championship belt. 

* Thou play kerlikit ! Thou art half the weight of the 
bat ! ' I said. 

The child nodded resolutely. ' Yea, I do play. P&rlay- 
ball. Ow-at / Ban, ra», ran ! I know it all.' 

* But thou must not forget with all this to pray to the 
Gods according to custom,' said Gobind, who did not 
altogether approve of cricket and Western innovations. 

* I do not forget,' said the child in a hushed voice. 

* Also to give reverence to thy teacher, and ' — Gobind's 
voice softened — * to abstain from pulling holy men by the 
beard, little badling. Eh, eh, eh?' 

The child's face was altogether hidden in the great white 
beard, and it began to whimper till Gobind soothed it as 
children are soothed all the world over, with the promise 

of a story. 

* I did not think to frighten thee, senseless little one. 
K R. M, 



178 THE KIPLING READER 

Look up! Am I angry? At6, &t6, &t6\ Shall I weep 
too, and of our tears make a great pond and drown us 
both, and then thy father will never get well, lacking thee 
to pull his beard 1 Peace, peace, and I will tell thee of the 
Gods. Thou hast heard many tales?' 

* Very many, father/ 

'Now, this is a new one which thou hast not heard. 
Long and long ago when the Gods walked with men as 
they do to-day, but that we have not faith to see, Shiv, the 
greatest of Gods, and Parbati his wife, were walking in the 
garden of a temple.' 

* Which temple ? That in the Nandgaon ward ? ' said 
the child. 

* Nay, very far away. Maybe at Trimbak or Hurdwar, 
whither thou must make pilgrimage when thou art a man. 
Now, there was sitting in the garden under the jujube 
trees, a mendicant that had worshipped Shiv for forty 
years, and he lived on the offerings of the pious, and 
meditated holiness night and day.' 

*0h, father, was it thou?' said the child, looking up 
with large eyes. 

*Nay, I have said it was long ago, and, moreover, this 
mendicant was married.' 

* Did they put him on a horse with flowers on his head, 
and forbid him to go to sleep all night long ? Thus they 
did to me when they made my wedding,' said the child, 
who had been married a few months before. 

* And what didst thou do ? ' said I. 

*I wept, and they called me evil names, and then I 
smote her, and we wept together.' 

' Thus did not the mendicant,' said Gobind ; * for he was 
a holy man, and very poor. Parbati perceived him sitting 
naked by the temple steps where all went up and down, 
and she said to Shiv, " What shall men think of the Gods 
when the Gods thus scorn the worshippers? For forty 



THE FINANCES OF THE GODS 179 

years yonder man has prayed to us, and yet there be only 
a few grains of rice and some broken cowries before him 
afber all. Men's hearts wiU be hardened by this thing." 
And Shiv said, " It shall be looked to," and so he called to 
the temple which was the temple of his son, Ganesh of the 
elephant head, saying, " Son, there is a mendicant without 
who is very poor. What wilt thou do for him 1 " Then 
that great elephant-headed One awoke in the dark and 
answered, " In three days, if it be thy will, he shall have 
one lakh of rupees." Then Shiv and Parbati went away.' 

*But there was a money-lender in the garden hidden 
among the marigolds' — the child looked at the ball of 
crumpled blossoms in its hands — *ay, among the yellow 
marigolds, and he heard the G^s talking. He was a 
covetous man, and of a black heart, and he desired that 
lakh of rupees for himself. So he went to the mendicant 
and said, "Oh brother, how much do the pious give thee 
daily ? " The mendicant said, " I cannot tell. Sometimes 
a little rice, sometimes a little pulse, and a few cowries and, 
it has been, pickled mangoes, and dried fish." 

* That is good,' said the child, smacking its lips. 

*Then said the money-lender, "Because I have long 
watched thee, and learned to love thee and thy patience, 
I win give thee now five rupees for all thy earnings of the 
three days to come. There is only a bond to sign on 
the matter." But the mendicant said, "Thou art mad. 
In two months I do not receive the worth of five rupees," 
and he told the thing to his wife that evening. She, being 
a woman, said, " When did money-lender ever make a bad 
bargain ? The wolf runs the com for the sake of the fat 
deer. Our fate is in the hands of the Gods. Pledge it not 
even for three days." 

*So the mendicant returned to the money-lender, and 
would not sell. Then that wicked man sat all day before 
him offering more and more for those three days' earnings. 



180 THE KIPLLNG READER 

First, ten, fifty, and a hundred rupees; and then, for he 
did not know when the Gods would pour down their gifts, 
rupees by the thousand, till he had oflFered half a lakh 
of rupees. Upon this sum the mendicant's wife shifted 
her counsel, and the mendicant signed the bond, and the 
money was paid in silver; great white bullocks bringing 
it by the cartload. But saving only all that money, the 
mendicant received nothing from the Gods at all, and the 
heart of the money-lender was uneasy on account of expecta- 
tion. Therefore at noon of the third day the money-lender 
went into the temple to spy upon the councils of the Gods, 
and to leam in what manner that gift might arrive. Even 
as he was making his prayers, a crack between the stones of 
the floor gaped, and, closing, caught him by the heel. Then 
he heard the Gods walking in the temple in the darkness of 
the columns, and Shiv called to his son Gtinesh, saying 
" Son, what hast thou done in regard to the lakh of rupees 
for the mendicant *? " And Ganesh woke, for the money- 
lender heard the dry rustle of his trunk uncoiling, and 
he answered, " Father, one-half of the money has been paid, 
and the debtor for the other half I hold here fast by the 
heel."' 

The child bubbled with laughter. 'And the money- 
lender paid the mendicant?' it said. 

' Surely, for he whom the Gods hold by the heel must 
pay to the uttermost. The money was paid at evening, all 
silver, in great carts, and thus Granesh did his work.' 

'Nathu! OheNathu!' 

A woman was calling in the dusk by the door of the 
courtyard. 

The child began to wriggle. ' That is my mother,' it said. 

'Qo then, littlest,' answered Gobind; *but stay a 
moment.' 

He ripped a generous yard from his patchwork-quilt, put 
it over the child's shoulders, and the child ran away. 



MOTI GUJ— MUTINEER 

Once upon a time there was a coffee-planter in India who 
wished to clear some forest land for coffee-planting. When 
he had cut down all the trees and burned the under-wood 
the stumps still remained. Dynamite is expensive and 
slow-fire slow. The happy medium for stump-clearing is the 
lord of all beasts, who is the elephant. He will either push 
the stump out of the ground with his tusks, if he has any, 
or drag it out with ropes. The planter, therefore, hired 
elephants by ones and twos and threes, and fell to work. 
The very best of all the elephants belonged to the very 
worst of all the drivers or mahouts; and the superior 
beast's name was Moti Guj. He was the absolute property 
of his mahout, which would never have been the case under 
native rule, for Moti Guj was a creature to be desired by 
kings; and his name, being translated, meant the Pearl 
Elephant. Because the British Government was in the 
land, Deesa, the mahout, enjoyed his property undisturbed. 
He was dissipated. When he had made much money 
through the strength of his elephant, he would get ex- 
tremely drunk and give Moti Guj a beating with a tent-peg 
over the tender nails of the forefeet. Moti Guj never 
trampled the life out of Deesa on these occasions, for he 
knew that after the beating was over Deesa would embrace 
his trunk, and weep and call him his love and his life and 
the liver of his soul, and give him some liquor. Moti Guj 
was very fond of liquor— arrack for choice, though he would 
drink palm-tree toddy if nothing better offered. Then 

181 



182 THE KIPLING READER 

Deesa would go to sleep between Moti Guj's forefeet, and 
as Deesa generally chose the middle of the public road, and 
as Moti Guj mounted guard over him and would not permit 
horse, foot, or cart to pass by, trafi&c was congested till 
Deesa saw fit to wake up. 

There was no sleeping in the daytime on the planter's 
clearing ; the wages were too high to risk. Deesa sat on 
Moti Guj's neck and gave him orders, while Moti Guj 
rooted up the stumps — for he owned a magnificent pair of 
tusks ; or pulled at the end of a rope — for he had a magni- 
ficent pair of shoulders, while Deesa kicked him behind the 
ears and said he was the king of elephants. At evening 
time Moti Guj would wash down his three hundred pounds' 
weight of green food with a quart of arrack, and Deesa 
would take a share and sing songs between Moti Guj's legs 
till it was time to go to bed. Once a week Deesa led Moti 
Guj down to the river, and Moti Guj lay on his side luxu- 
riously in the shallows, while Deesa went over him with a 
coir-swab and a brick. Moti Guj never mistook the pound- 
ing blow of the latter for the smack of the former that 
warned him to get up and turn over on the other side. 
Then Deesa would look at his feet, and examine his eyes, 
and turn up the fringes of his mighty ears in case of sores or 
budding ophthalmia. After inspection, the two would 
' come up with a song from the sea,' Moti Guj all black and 
shining, waving a torn tree branch twelve feet long in his 
trunk, and Deesa knotting up his own long wet hair. 

It was a peaceful, well-paid Hfe till Deesa felt the return 
of the desire to drink deep. He wished for an orgie. The 
little draughts that led nowhere were taking the manhood 
out of him. 

He went to the planter, and * My mother's dead,' said he, 
weeping. 

'She died on the last plantation two months ago; and 
she died once before that when you were working for me 



MOTI GUJ— MUTINEER 183 

last year,' said the planter, who knew something of the 
ways of nativedom. 

*Then it's my aunt, and she was just the same as a 
mother to me,' said Deesa, weeping more than ever. * She 
has left eighteen small children entirely without bread, and 
it is I who must fill their little stomachs,' said Deesa, beat- 
ing his head on the floor. 

* Who brought you the news ? ' said the planter. 
' The posti' said Deesa. 

* There hasn't been a post here for the past week. Gret 
back to your lines ! ' 

* A devastating sickness has fallen on my village, and all 
my wives are dying,' yelled Deesa, really in tears this time. 

* Call Chihun, who comes from Deesa's village,' said the 
planter. * Chihun, has this man a wife 1 ' 

' He ! ' said Chihun. * No. Not a woman of our village 
would look at him. They'd sooner marry the elephant.' 
Chihun snorted. Deesa wept and bellowed. 

*You win get into a difficulty in a minute,' said the 
planter. * Go back to your work ! ' 

* Now I will speak Heaven's truth,' gulped Deesa, with 
an inspiration. ' I haven't been drunk for two months. I 
desire to depart in order to get properly drunk afar oflf and 
distant from this heavenly plantation. Thus I shall cause 
no trouble.' 

A flickering smile crossed the planter's face. * Deesa,' 
said he, * you've spoken the truth, and I'd give you leave on 
the spot if anything could be done with Moti Guj while 
you're away. You know that he will only obey your orders.' 

* May the Light of the Heavens live forty thousand y ears. 
I shall be absent but ten little days. After that, upon my 
feith and honour and soul, I return. As to the inconsider- 
able interval, have I the gracious permission of the Heaven- 
bom to call up Moti Guj ? ' 

Permission was granted, and, in answer to Deesa's shrill 



184 THE KIPLING KEADER 

yell, the lordly tusker swung out of the shade of a clump 
of trees where he had been squirting dust over himself till 
his master should return. 

* Light of my heart, Protector of the Drunken, Mountain 
of Might, give ear,* said Deesa, standing in front of him. 

Moti Guj gave ear, and saluted with his trunk, ' I am 
going away,' said Deesa. 

Moti Guj's eyes twinkled. He liked jaunts as well as his 
master. One could snatch all manner of nice things from 
the roadside then. 

* But you, you fubsy old pig, must stay behind and work.' 
The twinkle died out as Moti Guj tried to look delighted. 

He hated stump-hauling on the plantation. It hurt his teeth. 

* I shall be gone for ten days, oh Delectable One. Hold 
up your near forefoot and I'll impress the fact upon it, 
warty toad of a dried mud-puddle.' Deesa took a tent-peg 
and banged Moti Guj ten times on the nails. Moti Guj 
grunted and shuffled from foot to foot. 

*Ten days,' said Deesa, *you must work and haul and 
root trees as Chihun here shall order you. Take up Chihun 
and set h\m on your neck ! ' Moti Guj curled the tip of his 
trunk, Chihun put his foot there and was swung on to the 
neck. Deesa handed Chihun the heavy ankvSj the iron 
elephant-goad. 

Chihun thumped Moti Guj's baJd head as a paviour 
thumps a kerbstone. 

Moti Guj trumpeted. 

* Be still, hog of the backwoods. Chihun's your mahout 
for ten days. And now bid me good-bye, beast after mine 
own heart. Oh, my lord, my king ! Jewel of aU created 
elephants, lily of the herd, preserve your honoured health ; 
be virtuous. Adieu ! ' 

Moti Guj lapped his trunk round Deesa and swung him 
into the air twice. That was his way of bidding the man 
good-bye. 



MOTI GUJ— MUTINEER 185 

* He'll work now,' said Deesa to the planter. ' Have I 
leave to go ? ' 

The planter nodded, and Deesa dived into the woods. 
Moti Guj went back to haul stumps. 

Chihun was very kind to him, but he felt unhappy and 
forlorn notwithstanding. Chihun gave him balls of spices, 
and tickled him under the chin, and Chihun's L'ttle baby 
cooed to him after work was over, and Chihun's wife called 
him a darling ; but Moti Guj was a bachelor by instinct, as 
Deesa was. He did not understand the domestic emotions. 
He wanted the light of his universe back again — the drink 
and the drunken slumber, the savage beatings and the 
savage caresses. 

None the less he worked well, and the planter wondered. 
Deesa had vagabonded along the roads till he met a mar- 
riage procession of his own caste and, drinking, dancing, 
and tippling, had drifted past all knowledge of the lapse of 
time. 

The morning of the eleventh day dawned, and there re- 
turned no Deesa. Moti Guj was loosed from his ropes for 
the daily stint. He swung clear, looked round, shrugged 
his shoulders, and began to walk away, as one having 
business elsewhere. 

* Hi ! ho ! Come back you,' shouted Chihun. * Come 
back, and put me on your neck, Misbom Mountain. Re- 
turn, Splendour of the Hillsides. Adornment of all India, 
heave to, or I'll bang every toe off your fat forefoot ! ' 

Moti Guj gurgled gently, but did not obey. Chihun ran 
after him with a rope and caught him up. Moti Guj put 
his ears forward, and Chihun knew what that meant, though 
he tried to carry it off with high words. 

'None of your nonsense with me,' said he. 'To your 
pickets. Devil-son.' 

* Hrrump ! ' said Moti Guj, and that was all— that and 
ohe forebent ears. 



186 THE KIPLINO READER 

Moti Guj put his hands in his pockets, chewed a branch 
for a toothpick, and strolled about the clearing, making jest 
of the other elephants, who had just set to work. 

Chihun reported the state of affairs to the planter, who 
came out with a dog-whip and cracked it furiously. Moti 
Guj paid the white man the compliment of charging 
him nearly a quarter of a mile across the clearing and 
'Hrrumphing' him into the verandah. Then he stood 
outside the house chuckling to himself, and shaking all 
over with the fun of it, as an elephant will. 

' We'll thrash him,' said the planter. * He shall have the 
finest thrashing that ever elephant received. Give Kala 
Nag and Nazim twelve foot of chain apiece, and tell them 
to lay on twenty blows.' 

Eida Nag — which means Black Snake — and Nazim were 
two of the biggest elephants in the lines, and one of their 
duties was to administer the graver punishments, since no 
man can beat an elephant properly. 

They took the whipping-chains and rattled them in their 
trunks as they sidled up to Moti Guj, meaning to hustle 
him between thenL Moti Guj had never, in all his life of 
thirty-nine years, been whipped, and he did not intend to 
open new experiences. So he waited, weaving his head 
finom right to left, and measuring the precise spot in Kala 
Nag's fat side where a blunt tusk would sink deepest. 
E^a Nag had no tusks; the chain was his badge of 
authority ; but he judged it good to swing wide of Moti 
Guj at the last minute, and seem to appear as if he had 
brought out the chain for amusement. Nazim turned 
round and went home early. He did not feel fighting-fit 
that morning, and so Moti Guj was left standing alone with 
his ears cocked. 

That decided the planter to argue no more, and Moti 
Guj rolled back to his inspection of the clearing. An 
elephant who will not work, and is not tied up, is not 



MOTI GU J -MUTINEER 187 

quite so manageable as an eighty-one ton gun loose in a 
heavy sea-way. He slapped old friends on the back and 
asked them if the stumps were coming away easily ; he 
talked nonsense concerning labour and the inalienable 
rights of elephants to a long * nooning ' ; and wandering to 
and fro, thoroughly demoralised the garden until simdown, 
when he returned to his pickets for food. 

* K you won't work you shan't eat/ said Chihun angrily. 
* You're a wild elephant, and no educated animal at all. 
Go back to your jungle.' 

Chihun's little brown baby, rolling on the floor of the 
hut, stretched its fat arms to the huge shadow in the door- 
way. Moti Guj knew well that it was the dearest thing on 
earth to Chihun. He swung out his trunk with a fascinat- 
ing crook at the end, and the brown baby threw itself 
shouting upon it. Moti Guj made fast and pulled up till 
the brown baby was crowing in the air twelve feet above 
his father's head. 

* Great Chief!' said Chihun. * Flour cakes of the best, 
twelve in number, two feet across, and soaked in rum shall 
be yours on the instant, and two hundred pounds' weight 
of fresh-cut young sugar-cane therewith. Deign only to put 
down safely that insignificant brat who is my heart and my 
life to me.' 

Moti Guj tucked the brown baby comfortably between 
his forefeet^ that could have knocked into toothpicks all 
Chihun's hut, and waited for his food. He ate it, and the 
brown baby crawled away. Moti Guj dozed, and thought 
of Deesa. One of many mysteries connected with the 
elephant is that his huge body needs less sleep than any- 
thing else that lives. Four or five hours in the night suffice 
—two just before midnight, lying down on one side ; two 
just after one o'clock, lying down on the other. The rest 
of the silent hours are filled with eating and fidgeting and 
long grumbling soliloquies. 



188 THE KIPLING READER 

At midnight, therefore, Moti Guj strode out of his pickets, 
for a thought had come to him that Deesa might be lying 
drunk somewhere in the dark forest with none to look after 
him. So all that night he chased through the undergrowth, 
blowing and trumpeting and shaking his ears. He went 
down to the river and blared across the shallows where 
Deesa used to wash him, but there was no answer. He 
could not find Deesa, but he disturbed all the elephants in 
the lines, and nearly frightened to death some gipsies in 
the woods. 

At dawn Deesa returned to the plantation. He had 
been very drunk indeed, and he expected to fall into 
trouble for outstaying his leave. He drew a long breath 
when he saw that the bungalow and the plantation were 
still uninjured; for he knew something of Moti Guj's 
temper ; and reported himself with many lies and salaams. 
Moti Guj had gone to his pickets for breakfast. His night 
exercise had made him hungry. 

* Call up your beast,' said the planter, and Deesa shouted 
in the mysterious elephant-language, that some mahouts 
believe came from China at the birth of the worid, when 
elephants and not men were masters. Moti Guj heard and 
came. Elephants do not gallop. They move from spots at 
varying rates of speed. If an elephant wished to catch an 
express train he could not gallop, but he could catch the 
train. Thus Moti Guj was at the planter's door almost 
before Chihun noticed that he had left his pickets. He fell 
into Deesa's arms trumpeting with joy, and the man and 
beast wept and slobbered over each other, and handled each 
other from head to heel to see that no harm had befallen. 

' Now we will get to work,' said Deesa. * Lift me up, my 
son and my joy.' 

Moti Guj swung him up and the two went to the coffee- 
clearing to look for irksome stumps. 

The planter was too astonished to be very angry. 



POETEY 

THE NATIVE-BOEN 

We^ve drunk to the Queen — God bless her /- 

We've drunk to our mothers' land ; 
W^ve drunk to our English brother 

{But he does not understand) ; 
We've drunk to the wide creation^ 

And the Cross stvings low for the mom; 
Last toast, and of obligaiiony 

A health to the Native^om I 

They cha/nge their skies above them. 

But not their hearts that roam ! 
We learned from our wistful mothers 

To call old England ' home ' ; 
We read of the English skylark, 

Of the spring in the English lanes, 
But we sc/rearned with the painted lories 

As we rode on the dusty plains ! 

They passed unth their old-world legends— 
Their tales of urong and dearth — 

Our fathers held by purchase, 
But we by the right of birth ; 
189 



190 THE KIPLING KEADEK 

Ov/r heart's where they rocked ov/r cradle, 
Our love where we spent our toil. 

Arid our faith and our hope and our honour 
We pledge to our n/itive soU I 

I charge you charge your glasses — 

/ charge you drink with me 
To the men of the Four New Nations, 

And the Islands of the Sea — 
To the last least lump of coral 

That none may stand outside. 
And our own good pride shall teach us 

To praise our comrade^ s pride I 

To the hush of the breathless morning 

On the thin, tin, crackling roofs. 
To the haze of the burned back-ranges 

And the dust of the shoeless hoofs — 
To the risk of a death by drowning. 

To the risk of a death by drouth — 
To the men of a miUion acres, 

To the Sons of the Golden South ! 

To the Sons of the Golden South (Stand up /), 

And the life we live and know, 
Let a fellow sing d the little things he cares about, 
If a fellow fights for the little things he cares about 

With the weight of a single blow ! 

To the smoke of a hundred coasters, 
To the sheep on a thousand hills, 

To the Sim that never blisters, 
To the rain that never chills — 

To the land of the waiting spring-time, 
To our five-meal, meat-fed men, 



THE NATIVE-BORN 191 

To the tall, deep-bosomed women, 
And the children nine and ten ! 

Avid the children nine and ten (Stand up /), 

And the life we live and know, 
Let a fellow sing d the little things he cares dboutj 
If a fellow fights for the little things he cares about 

With the weight of a two-fold blow ! 

To the far-flung fenceless prairie 

Where the quick cloud-shadows trail, 
To our neighbour's bam in the offing 

And the line of the new-cut rail ; 
To the plough in her league-long furrow 

With the gray Lake gulls behind — 
To the weight of a half-year's winter 

And the warm wet western wind ! 

To the home of the floods and thunder, 

To her pale dry healing blue — 
To the lift of the great Cape combers, 

And the smell of the baked Karroo. 
To the growl of the sluicing stamp-head — 

To the reef and the water-gold. 
To the last and the largest Empire, 

To the map that is half unrolled ! 

To our dear dark foster-mothers. 

To the heathen songs they sung— 
To the heathen speech we babbled 

Ere we came to the white man's tongue. 
To the cool of our deep verandas— 

To the blaze of our jewelled main, 
To the night, to the palms in the moonlight. 

And the fire-fly in the cane ! 



192 THE KIPLING READER 

To the hearth of our people's people — 

To her well-ploughed windy sea, 
To the hush of our dread high-altar 

Where The Abbey makes us We ; 
To the grist of the slow-ground ages, 

To the gain that is yours and mine — 
To the Bank of the Open Credit, 

To the Power-house of the Line ! 

WeVe drunk to the Queen — God bless her ! — 

We've drunk to our mothers' land ; 
WeVe drunk to our English brother 

(And we hope he'll understand). 
We've drunk as much as we're able, 

And the Cross swings low for the mom ; 
Last toast— and your foot on the table ! — 

A health to the Native-bom ! 

A health to the Native-born (Stand up /), 

We're six white men araw, 
AU hound to sing d the little things we care ahout, 
All hound to fight for the little things we care about 

With the weight of a six-fold blow I 
By the might of our cable-tow (Take hands f)^ 

From the Orkneys to the Horn, 
All round the world (and a little loop to pull it by). 
All round the world (and a little strap to buckle it\ 

A health to the Native-bom, f 



THE FLOWEES 

To our private taste, there is always something a little exotic, 
almost artificial, in songs which, under an English aspect and dress, 
are yet so manifestly the product of other skies. They affect us 
like translations ; the very fauna and flora are alien, remote ; the 
dog's-tooth violet is but an ill substitute for the rathe primrose, nor 
can we ever believe that the wood-robin sings as sweetly in April as 
the English thrush. — The Athenaeum. 

Buy my English posies I 

Kent and Surrey may — 
Violets of the Underdiff 

Wet with Chamiel spray ; 
Cowslips from a Devon combe — 

Midland furze afire — 
Buy my English posies 

And ril sell your heaifs desire / 

Buy my English posies ! 

You that scorn the May, 
Won't you greet a friend from home 

Half the world away ? 
Green against the draggled drift, 

Faint and frail and first — 
Buy my Northern blood-root 

And I'll know where you were nursed : 
K.R. 193 N 



194 THE KIPLING READER 



I > 



Robin down the logging-road whistles, ' Come to me 
Spring has found the maple-grove, the sap is running free ; 
All the winds of Canada call the ploughing-rain. 
Take the flower and turn the hour, and kiss your love again ! 

Buy my English posies ! 

Here's to match your need— 
Buy a tuft of royal heath. 

Buy a bunch of weed 
White as sand of Muysenberg 

Spun before the gale — 
Buy my heath and lilies 

And I'll tell you whence you hail ! 
Under hot Constantia broad the vineyards lie — 
Throned and thorned the aching berg props the speckless 

sky- 
Slow below the Wynberg firs trails the tilted wain — 
Take the flower and turn the hour, and kiss your love again ! 

Buy my English posies ! 

You that wiU not turn — 
Buy my hot-wood clematis, 

Buy a frond o' fern 
Gathered where the Erskine leaps 

Down the road to Lome — 
Buy my Christmas creeper 

And I'll say where you were born ! 
West away from Melbourne dust holidays begin — 
They that mock at Paradise woo at Cora Lynn — 
Through the great South Otway gums sings the great South 

Main — 
Take the flower and turn the hour, and kiss your love again! 

Buy my English posies ! 
Here's your choice unsold ! 



THE FLOWERS 195 

Buy a blood-red myrtle-bloom, 

Buy the kowhai's gold 
Flung for gift on Taupo's face, 
Sign that spring is come — 
Buy my clinging mjrtle 

And I'll give you back your home ! 
Broom behind the windy town ; pollen o' the pine — 
Bell-bird in the leafy deep where the ratas twine — 
Fern above the saddle-bow, flax upon the plain — 
Take the flower and turn the hour, and kiss your love again ! 

Buy my English posies ! 

Ye that have your own, 
Buy them for a brother's sake 

Overseas, alone. 
Weed ye trample underfoot 
Floods his heart abrim — 
Bird ye never heeded, 

Oh, she calls his dead to him ! 
Far and far our homes are set round the Seven Seas ; 
Woe for us if we forget, we that hold by these ! 
Unto each his mother-beach, bloom and bird and land— ' 
Masters of the Seven Seas, oh, love and understand. 



MUNICIPAL. 

" Why is my District death-rate low ? " 

Said Binks of Hezabad 
** Wells, drains, and sewage-outfalls are 

" My own peculijir fad. 
** 1 learnt a lesson once. It ran 
** Thus," quoth that most veracious man : — 

It was an August evening and, in snowy garments clad, 
I paid a round of visits in the lines of Hezabad ; 
When, presently, my Waler saw, and did not like at all, 
A Commissariat elephant careering down the Mall. 

I couldn't see the driver, and across my mind it rushed 
That that Commissariat elephant had suddenly gone musth, 
I didn't care to meet him, and I couldn't weU get down, 
So I let the Waler have it, and we headed for the town. 

The buggy was a new one and, praise Dykes, it stood the 

strain, 
Till the Waler jumped a bullock just above the City Drain; 
And the next that I remember was a hurricane of squeals, 
And the creature making toothpicks of my five-foot patent 

wheels. 

He seemed to want the owner, so I fled, distraught with 

fear. 
To the Main Drain sewage outfall while he snorted in my 

ear — 

196 



MUNICIPAL 197 

Reached the four-foot drain-head safely and, in darkness 

and despair, 
Felt the brute's proboscis fingering my terror-stiffened hair. 

Heard it trumpet on my shoulder— tried to crawl a little 

higher — 
Found the Main Drain sewage-outfall blocked some eight 

feet up, with mire ; 
And, for twenty reeking minutes, Sir, my very marrow 

froze, 
While the trunk was feeling blindly for a purchase on my 

toes! 

It missed me by a fraction, but my hair was turning grey 
Before they called the drivers up and dragged the brute 

away. 
Then I sought the City Elders, and my words were very 

plain. 
They flushed that four-foot drain-head and — it never choked 

again. 

You may hold with surface-drainage, and the sun-for-gar- 

bage cure. 
Till you've been a periwinkle shrinking coyly up a sewer. 
/ believe in well-flushed culverts. . . . 

This is why the death-rate's small ; 
And, if you don't believe me, get shikarred yourself. That's 

all. 



THE COASTWISE LIGHTS 

Our brows are bound with spindrift and the weed is on 

our knees ; 
Our loins are battered 'neath us by the swinging, smoking 

seas. 
From reef and rock and skerry — over headland, ness, and 

voe — 
The Coastwise Lights of England watch the ships of 

England go ! 

Through the endless summer evenings, on the lineless, level 

floors ; 
Through the yelling Channel tempest when the siren hoots 

and roars — 
By day the dipping house-flag and by night the rocket's 

trail — 
As the sheep that graze behind us so we know them where 

they haiL 

We bridge across the dark, and bid the helmsman have a 

care, 
The flash that wheeling inland wakes his sleeping wife to 

prayer ; 

198 



THE COASTWISE LIGHTS 199 

From our vexed eyries, head to gale, we bind in burning 

chains 
The lover from the sea-rim drawn — his love in English 

lanes. 

We greet the clippers wing-and-wing that race the Southern 

wool; 
We warn the crawling cargo tanks of Bremen, Leith, and 

HuU; 
To each and all our equal lamp at peril of the sea — 
The white wall-sided war-ships or the whalers of Dundee ! 

Come up, come in from Eastward, from the guard-ports of 

the Morn ! 
Beat up, beat in from Southerly, O gipsies of the Horn ! 
Swift shuttles of an Empire's loom that weave us, main to 

main. 
The Coastwise Lights of England give you welcome back 

again! 

Go, get you gone up-Channel with the sea-crust on your 

plates ; 
Go, get you into London with the burden of your freights ! 
Haste, for they talk of Empire there, and say, if any seek, 
The Lights of England sent you and by silence shall ye 

speak. 



THE ENGLISH FLAG 

Above the portico a flag-staff, bearing the Union Jack, remained 
fluttering in the flames for some time, but ultimately when it fell the 
crowds rent the air with shouts, and seemed to see signiflcance in 
the incident. — Daily Papers. 

Winds of the World, give answer ! They are whimpering 

to and fro — 
And what should they know of England who only England 

know? — 
The poor little street-bred people that vapour and fume and 

brag, 
They are lifting their heads in the stillness to yelp at the 

English Flag ! 

Must we borrow a clout from the Boer — to plaster anew 

with dirt ? 
An Irish liar's bandage, or an English coward's shirt 1 
We may not speak of England ; her Flag's to sell or share. 
What is the Flag of England? Winds of the Worid, 

declare ! 

The North Wind blew : — * From Bergen my steel-shod 

vanguards go ; 
I chase your lazy whalers home from the Disko floe ; 
By the great North Lights above me I work the will of 

God, 
And the liner splits on the ice-field or the Dogger fills with 

cod. 

200 



THE ENGLISH FLAG 201 

*I barred my gates with iron, I shuttered my doors with 

flame, 
Because to force my ramparts your nutshell navies came ; 
I took the sun from their presence, I cut them down with 

my blast, 
And they died, but the Flag of England blew free ere the 

spirit passed. 

* The lean white bear hath seen it in the long, long Arctic 

night, 
The musk-ox knows the standard that flouts the Northern 

Light : 
What is the Flag of England ? Ye have but my bergs to 

dare, 
Ye have but my drifts to conquer. GU) forth, for it is 

there ! ' 

The South Wind sighed : — * From the Virgins my mid-sea 

course was ta'en 
Over a thousand islands lost in an idle main, 
Where the sea-egg flames on the coral and the long-backed 

breakers croon 
Their endless ocean legends to the lazy, locked lagoon. 

* Strayed amid lonely islets, mazed amid outer keys, 

I waked the palms to laughter — I tossed the scud in the 

breeze — 
Never was isle so little, never was sea so lone, 
But over the scud and the palm-trees an English flag was 

flown. 



' I have wrenched it free from the halliard to hang for a 
wisp on tt 
ve chased i 
and torn ; 



wisp on the Horn ; 
I have chased it north to the Lizard— ribboned and rolled 



202 THE KIPLING READER 

I have spread its fold o'er the dying, adrift in a hopeless 

sea; 
I have hurled it swift on the slaver, and seen the slave set 

free. 

* My basking sunfish know it, and wheeling albatross, 
Where the lone wave fills with fire beneath the Southern 

Cross. 
What is the Flag of England 1 Ye have but my reefs to 

dare, 
Ye have but my seas to fiirrow. Go forth, for it is there ! ' 

The East Wind roared: — 'From the Kuriles, the Bitter 

Seas, I come, 
And me men call the Home- Wind, for I bring the English 

home. 
Look — look well to your shipping ! By the breath of my 

mad typhoon 
I swept your close-packed Praya and beached your best at 

Kowloon ! 

* The reeling junks behind me and the racing seas before, 
I raped your richest roadstead — I plundered Singapore ! 

I set my hand on the Hoogli ; as a hooded snake she rose, 
And I flung your stoutest steamers to roost with the 
startled crows. 

* Never the lotus closes, never the wild-fowl wake. 

But a soul goes out on the East Wind that died for 

England's sake — 
Man or woman or suckling, mother or bride or maid — 
Because on the bones of the English the English Flag is 

stayed. 

•The desert^ust hath dimmed it, the flying wild-ass knows, 
The scared white leopard winds it across the taintless snows. 



THE ENGLISH FLAG 203 

What is the Flag of England ? Ye have but my sun to 

dare, 
Ye have but my sands to travel. Go forth, for it is there !' 

The West Wind called: — *In squadrons the thoughtless 

galleons fly 
That bear the wheat and cattle lest street-bred people die. 
They make my might their porter, they make my house 

their path, 
Till I loose my neck from their nidder and whelm them all 

in my wrath. 

* I draw the gliding fog-bank as a snake is drawn from the 

hole, 
They bellow one to the other, the frighted ship-bells toll, 
For day is a drifting terror till I raise the shroud with my 

breath. 
And they see strange bows above them and the two go 

locked to death. 

* But whether in calm or wrack-wreath, whether by dark or 

day, 
I heave them whole to the conger or rip their plates away, 
First of the scattered legions, under a shrieking sky, 
Dipping between the rollers, the English Flag goes by. 

* The dead dumb fog hath wrapped it — the frozen dews have 

kissed — 
The naked stars have seen it, the fellow-star in the mist 
What is the Flag of England ? Ye have but my breath to 

dare, 
Ye have but my waves to conquer. Go forth, for it is 

there ! ' 



ENGLAND'S ANSWER 

Truly ye come of The Blood ; slower to bless than to ban ; 
Little used to lie down at the bidding of any man 
Flesh of the flesh that I bred, bone of the bone that I bare; 
Stark as your sons shall be— stern as your fathers were. 
Deeper than speech our love, stronger than life our tether, 
But we do not fall on the neck nor kiss when we come 

together. 
My arm is nothing weak, my strength is not gone by ; 
Sons, I have borne many sons, but my breasts are not dry, 
Look, I have made ye a place and opened wide the doors. 
That ye may talk together, your Barons and Councillors — 
Wards of the Outer March, Lords of the Lower Seas, 
Ay, talk to your gray mother that bore you on her knees ! — 
That ye may talk together, brother to brother's face — 
Thus for the good of your peoples — thus for the Pride of 

the Race. 
Also, we will make promise. So long as The Blood endures, 
I shall know that your good is mine : ye shall feel that my 

strength is yours : 
In the day of Armageddon, at the last great fight of all. 
That Our House stand together and the pillars do not fall. 
Draw now the threefold knot firm on the ninefold bands, 
And the Law that ye make shall be law after the rule of 

your lands. 
This for the waxen Heath, and that for the Wattle-bloom, 
This for the Maple-leaf, and that for the southern Broom. 

204 



ENGLAND'S ANSWER 205 

The Law that ye make shall be law and I do not press my 

will, 
Because ye are Sons of The Blood and call me Mother still. 
Now must ye speak to your kinsmen and they must speak 

to you, 
After the use of the English, in straight-flung words and 

few. 
Go to your work and be strong, halting not in your ways, 
Balking the end half-won for an instant dole of praise. 
Stand to your work and be wise — certain of sword and pen, 
Who are neither children nor Gods, but men in a world of 

men! 



THE OVERLAND MAIL 
[Foot-service to the Hills] 

In the name of the Empress of India, make way, 
Lords of the Jungle, wherever you roam, 

The woods are astir at the close of the day — 
We exiles are waiting for letters from Home. 

Let the robber retreat — let the tiger turn tail — 

In the Name of the Empress, the Overland Mail 1 

With a jingle of bells as the dusk gathers in, 

He turns to the foot-path that heads up the hill — 

The bags on his back and a cloth round his chin, 
And, tucked in his waistbelt, the Post OflBce bill ; — 

* Despatched on this date, as received by the rail, 

'Per runner, two bags of the Overland Mail.' 

Is the torrent in spate 1 He must ford it or swim. 

Has the rain wrecked the road ? He must climb by the 
cliff. 
Does the tempest cry * halt ' ? What are tempests to him ? 
The service admits not a * but ' or an ' if.' 

206 



THE OVERLAND MAIL 207 

AVMle the breath's in his mouth, he must bear without fail, 
Li the Name of the Empress, the Overland Mail. 

From aloe to rose-oak, from rose-oak to fir. 
From level to upland, from upland to crest, 

From rice-field to rock-ridge, from rock-ridge to spur, 
Fiy the sofb-sandalled feet, strains the brawny brown 
chest. 

From rail to ravine — to the peak from the vale — 

Up, up through the night goes the Overland Mail. 

There's a speck on the hill-side, a dot on the road — 

A jingle of bells on the foot-path below — 
There's a scuffle above in the monkey's abode — 

The world is awake and the clouds are aglow. 
For the great Sun himself must attend to the hail : — 
* In the Name of the Empress, the Overland Mail ! ' 



IN SPEING TIME 

My garden blazes brightly with the rose-bush and the 
peach, 
And the koU sings above it, in the siris by the well, 
From the creeper-covered trellis comes the squirrel's 
chattering speech, 
And the blue jay screams and flutters where the cheery 
sathhai dwell. 
But the rose has lost its fragrance, and the koiVs note is 
strange ; 
I am sick of endless sunshine, sick of blossom-burdened 
bough. 
Give me back the leafless woodlands where the winds of 
Springtime range — 
Give me back one day in England, for it's Spring in 
England now ! 
Through the pines the gusts are booming, o'er the b-^wn 
fields blowing chill. 
From the furrow of the plough-share streams the 
fragrance of the loam, 
And the hawk nests on the cliffside and the jackdaw in the 
hill, 
And my heart is back in England 'mid the sights and 
sounds of Home. 
But the garland of the sacrifice this wealth of rose and 
peach is, 
Ah ! kbil^ little hoil, singing on the siris bough. 
In my ears the knell of exile your ceaseless bell-like speech 
is — 
Can ym tell me aught of England or of Spring in 
England now ? 




59800 



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